Laura Carl is our fifth-grade teacher. The classical education that she received at Hillsdale College positively impacted her ability to think critically and gained favor as an educational model. The opportunities that she has had in life including being an attorney and now a teacher are a direct result of her classical education. She is honored to be at Ivywood and have the ability to share a liberal arts education with her students.
Read more about her journey and inspiration to become the teacher that she is today.
Who inspired you to become a teacher?
I have always loved teaching since I was a child because I like to share the joy of learning. As soon as I started going to school I would play school with my younger brothers and taught both of them to read before they started going to school. My love of learning inspired me to choose to be an educator in many different capacities. This is my first year teaching fifth grade as a full-time teacher. I spent four years prior as an attorney at a discovery law firm.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Canton, Ohio which is a suburb of Cleveland.
What has been your educational journey?
I earned my undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College majoring in Political Economy and minoring in English. For several years I worked in the public policy world in both Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Later I went to law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA where I focused on intellectual property law. I was a stay-at-home mother for eight years, then substitute taught at charter and mainstream public elementary schools in Canton, MI as well as at Madonna University for autistic children and adults.
I spent the last four years working as an attorney for a discovery firm, working mostly on antitrust cases and this is my first year teaching fifth grade full-time!
What previous teachers inspired you?
I have always been especially fond of my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Looman. In addition to teaching me, she also expressed her concern and care for me. In my undergraduate studies at Hillsdale College, Professor Coppock was one of my favorite professors because of his evident enthusiasm for the subject matter. He always came into class so excited about microeconomics and talked a mile a minute because he wanted to share everything that he had learned with all of the students. Dr. Belt was also one of my favorite professors because she posed truly thoughtful philosophical questions such as whether we have free will or our lives are predetermined.
Why Classical Education?
Initially, I was drawn to the education offered at Hillsdale College because it simply wasn’t offered at any other undergraduate institution. In high school, I was interested in Austrian Economics which, at the time, was only offered at New York University at the graduate level. However, at Hillsdale, there were multiple course offerings at the undergraduate level.
The classical education that I received at Hillsdale College positively impacted my ability to think critically and gained my favor as an educational model. The opportunities I’ve had in life are a direct result of my classical education and it is an honor to be able to share a liberal arts education with the fifth graders at Ivywood Classical Academy.
What are you looking forward to teaching this year?
I am looking forward to many things at Ivywood Classical Academy this year. Most of all, studying and teaching Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll which was one of my favorite books to study in school. I am also looking forward to covering the Renaissance and Reformation in History.
What’s your favorite classical book?
My favorite classical book is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It is my favorite because of its focus on the moral struggles of the characters.
What virtue resonates most with you?
My favorite Ivywood Virtue is Integrity because being honest and doing the right thing, especially when no one is watching. It is such an important moral quality that I hope to instill in my students.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
My favorite part about teaching is being able to learn things all over again (in addition to new things) along with the students. The creative freedom to be able to draft a study guide, quiz or test from a favorite book is also a large bonus. It allows room to try to infuse things with humor and other things that might resonate with a particular student’s interests.
The students seem to be most excited when they can get up and out of their seats and do something hands-on. If there are games that can be played to help teach the students what we are learning about in grammar or experiments that we can conduct to demonstrate a concept that we are learning in science, I take advantage of them.
The other day I had a (difficult) student describe me as being patient and I really appreciated that (particularly because I feel that I have to grow more patient with some of my students).
My colleagues would say that I usually have a smile to offer and share with them.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to do things outdoors and garden. I love to ski and also do yoga but most of my free-time is spent catching up with my family and keeping up with my two active daughters. Reading books and watching movies are favorite ways to pass time, as well.