Teacher Appreciation Week: Why I Teach: Laura Logsdon
COTTONWOOD – When asked to explain why she teaches, Laura Logsdon of Mingus Union High School answered, “Because I want to make a difference in my world and for others in the world around me. Period.”
Laura teaches English, as well as Advanced Placement English Literature. In her 15 years at Mingus, the only school where she has taught, she’s taught all levels of Standard English.
The desire to teach struck Laura while she was living in San Francisco and had read a series of articles on the life of a high school student.
“Some of the stories of the things the students were experiencing, from the peer pressure and bad decision-making, to the struggles with teachers, to feeling left out, struck a familiar chord with me, as I, too had some of those same experiences,” Laura said. “It was literally one of those light bulb moments.”
She said she had never considered teaching. “And in that moment, on that day, I realized I had something that I could offer to kids.”
The idea that she is working for something larger than herself is what motivates Laura. And that motivation hasn’t changed since she started teaching.
“I think teaching is a sacred act,” Laura said. “This idea that you hold the development of a child’s mind, her creativity, sense of self and of the world in which she lives, in your hands – that is a profound charge, and one I take very seriously.”
And that goes directly to what gives Laura the greatest sense of accomplishment in teaching.
“Seeing a student make a real world connection to something we’re learning,” she said.
Although she teaches English, Laura feels that she’s really teaching the human experience in what we read and in the stories we tell. “So when I see a student touched by this, when she writes an essay about her own lonely experiences as an outsider after reading Catcher in the Rye, or when a boy in class speaks up about what it’s like to be discriminated against because of his ethnic background after reading How It Feels to Be Colored Me, I tingle and I sigh and I feel exhilarated.
“This is what I’m here for, I think. This is why I do this.”
There is also true joy in teaching. According to Laura, that joy comes first and foremost through the simple act of “laughing.”
“If a day goes by that I don’t laugh once in any of my classes, well, that’s a sad day,” she said. “What most of the people I talk to don’t know is just how funny teenagers are.”
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