This is part of a series of new educators in the Fort Scott School District.
Laura Howard, 26, is a new Fort Scott Middle School 7th/8th English Language Arts Teacher. She has two years of teaching experience.
She graduated from Pittsburg State University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in English Education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree that will allow her to teach public speaking for college credit.
“I moved around a bit as a kid so I don’t really have a ‘hometown’ but I spent most of my time in Pittsburg and in La Cygne, KS.,” she said.
She is married, with two sons, Eric (6) and Soren (1), and has a miniature Australian Shepherd named Lula. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and doing yoga.
“I became a teacher because I took a class on graphic novels and realized how much they would benefit struggling readers. I realized how important books are and that we become better people by reading and learning about people who are different from us and I wanted to use that to help make the world a better place. Then I spent time in the classroom and I realized how desperately kids are waiting for someone to see them as a person that has thoughts and feelings worth listening to.”
“I got interested in the field because I wanted to help kids enjoy reading, but now I’m in it because I want kids to learn about the world and understand that they don’t have to be a grown-up to have value and worth.”
She was inspired by a former teacher.
“Christy Nickelson taught the advanced English courses and the French courses at my school and I always loved the way she made us feel,” she said. “She never raised her voice, she made time for fun, and she spent countless hours grading work and teaching us how to fix it. You can’t not like her. She will support you and help you no matter how badly you mess up. I consider myself beyond blessed to have started my career by teaching in the room next door to her. I have modeled a lot of my own teaching and interacting with kids from the way she taught and interacted with me.”
“The absolute best part of teaching is getting to know each of the kids,” she said. “I love to learn about who they are and who they want to be. I have had so many great moments of kids just wanting to share their time and thoughts with me which leads to really fun experiences in the classroom! The more I know about the kids, the more I can personalize their lessons and really help them get the most out of our time together.”
“The greatest challenge of teaching is the surprises. Knowing what to teach? Sure, college gives you that. Knowing how to grade? Another easy one. It’s the things you can’t plan for that get you. Sometimes it’s having a lesson that requires using Wi-Fi and then, bam! No internet! Sometimes it’s a kid behaving in the exact opposite way that you expect, like being angry or in tears. Sometimes it’s a perfectly planned activity going completely sideways. Surprises like these happen all the time. You can’t prepare for them so you just have to be ready to throw out what you had, roll with the punches, and reflect on it later so you can be more prepared next time.”
Peyton Guiles, 22, is the new Special Education Teacher at Eugene Ware Elementary School.
“I will be a first-year teacher, however, I have had various field experiences through Pitt State and I did my student teaching at Eugene Ware,” Guiles said.
Education: BSE 2021 from Pittsburg State University, majored in Elementary Education Unified K-6
Hometown: Girard, KS
“My parents are Carlita and Keith Guiles, and I have an older brother, Alex.”
“Some of my hobbies include watching the Kansas City Chief and the Royals, spending time with my friends and family, and taking care of my fur babies.” Why did you become an educator?
“During my K-12 years, I struggled as a student because I was a nontraditional learner and my learning needs were not being met. Having that perspective, I became an educator because I want to make a difference by meeting my students where they are at and support their unique learning needs.” What is the best part of teaching for you?
“The best part about teaching for me is seeing the students’ growth and watching their confidence build up as they learn new concepts and skills.” What are the greatest challenges?
“One of the greatest challenges I have faced in teaching so far is balancing students’ diverse learning needs. Every student is different and unique, so I have learned to get creative in my teaching strategies to meet their learning needs.”