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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 2 months ago

Influencer of the Week: Laura May, Southwest Middle School

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Laura May was recently selected earlier in the school year as Teacher of the Year at Southwest Middle School.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Laura May is an eighth-grade English and language arts teacher at Southwest Middle School and was recently selected as the school’s Teacher of the Year. She’s not only a teacher at Southwest Middle, but she’s also an alumna. May attended Southwest Middle School during her seventh and eighth grade years, and she finds it interesting to be back at her former school in a different role.

What do you love most about your school? 

I love how diverse our student population is. Teaching students with various interests and from different backgrounds challenges me to find new ways to engage and teach them to the best of my ability.  

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part about teaching is connecting and building relationships with students through their learning. I still keep in touch with a handful of former students who are now in high school, and I absolutely love hearing about their academic journey and how they are progressing through life. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness them grow, mature, and succeed. 

What made you want to take on this job?

I always knew I wanted to enter a profession that helped others, and I have always valued education. I want to be proud of what I do for a living; teaching allows me to feel that way.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

My biggest motivator is student engagement and success. The goal is to help them improve, so I consistently try to implement best practices while keeping their interests in mind. I enjoy learning about new strategies that I can try within the classroom. 

What’s the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?

The nicest thing students have done for me is express their gratitude. Each month, our school allows students to recognize a teacher who has helped them by providing comments on a survey. It’s really nice to read their comments and feel appreciated. It encourages me to keep trying to reach every student in a meaningful way.

What’s your favorite place to eat?

I love restaurants with outdoor seating — especially ones along the beach!

If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

I would visit Australia because I’d like to experience their culture and outdoor adventures.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would choose to be able to teleport for two reasons. One, so I could visit family members who live far away and, two, to avoid wasting time sitting in Orlando traffic!

Cats, dogs or some other pet? 

I love dogs. I’ve adopted them in the past and hope to again someday.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy working out, visiting the beach, and spending time with family and friends. 

If you were trapped on a deserted island and can only take three items with you, what would you bring and why?

I would bring water, sun screen, and a knife. I’m all about survival. 

What was your favorite book growing up?

I was an avid reader in elementary school and enjoyed R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street” series. As I grew older, I enjoyed reading dystopian novels.

What is your favorite sports team to cheer for?

I'm originally from the St. Louis area so I always pull for The Cardinals!

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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