By Holly Penta
Laura Friedel was put on this Earth to be a teacher, according to her husband. He saw her love for kids and suggested that she go into teaching, which was something she hadn’t even considered. This was clearly a promising idea, as Friedel has been teaching for 29 years and loves everything about it. Currently, she teaches 3rd grade at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Natchitoches. Teaching 3rd grade requires her to teach all subjects including math, science, social studies, and English Language Arts (ELA).
Her favorite subject to teach is reading, because she sees the most growth there. On the other hand, most students like science or math the best. Friedel knows they like the hands-on nature of science and math and love the projects.
Throughout her career she’s taught kindergarten through 5th grade, but thoroughly enjoys teaching 3rd grade. Third graders, who are usually 8 or 9 years old, are old enough to be more independent, but still young enough that Friedel can watch great change and growth in their learning.
Friedel believes that teaching comes from the heart and that students need to see enthusiasm from their teacher. “When the students know you truly love and care for them, they can exceed even the highest expectations,” she said. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing students progress, especially seeing non-reading students become increasingly confident in their reading skills. “There are no limits that can be put on a student’s potential,” she said. Friedel also loves to see students reach new goals. She wakes up every morning excited to get to do what she loves, even going as far as to say, “There is not a single thing I don’t like about teaching.”
As she teaches, Friedel makes sure that she spends time with each individual student, asking them questions, and boosting those who need extra help while pushing those students who need a challenge. Her class gives the students the chance to work in small groups, use manipulatives, and play games. The students encourage, help, and truly care for each other.
Friedel is a wonderful example to potential future teachers and she encourages them to do what they love and love what they do. Although teaching requires a lot of work and does not provide monetary rewards, she says, “It’s worth every minute.”