LSU Alum, Kristin Lambert, Shines in Her First Year of Teaching

September 19, 2022

BATON ROUGE, LA - Kristin Lambert graduated from LSU in May of 2022 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education (1-5). She is currently a 3rd grade Math and Science teacher at Sugar Mill Primary located in Prairieville, Louisiana. Kristin said, “I fell in love with teaching third grade during my time student teaching and was fortunate enough to have gotten offered the grade and subjects I dreamed of teaching!”

While Kristin has only officially been a teacher for a little over a month, she recently got nominated by her colleagues as Noble Knight of the Week. Kristin explained, “I got nominated by 3 of my colleagues for displaying characteristics of being a “Noble Knight”, which is our school mascot. I get a special parking spot, jean pass, as well as a door hanger on the outside of my door. This is recognized by the school and the public and it was an honor to have gotten this title, recognizing my excellence. I can’t wait for what my first year as a teacher has in store and all that I will accomplish as I have goals I want achieve by the end of the year! I want to showcase all that I know and my dedication to my students and their academic growth!”Kristin Lambert with her award

Why Teach?

"As cliché as this sounds, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I have always loved working with children and helping them. Prior to getting the job at Sugar Mill, I worked at Color Wheel Learning Center for 6 years. I loved every minute of it and was sad when my time had to come to an end to start my career. I can’t think of another profession that would make me feel as fulfilled as teaching does. The impact of a teacher is truly unmatched. I want to be the person to make an impact in a child’s life whether that is academically or mentally. Sometimes what children need is more than what is in a lesson plan. Sometimes children have no one on their side. I have always wanted to be that person for my students. I want to advocate for them when they can’t for themselves. To see children doing things they weren’t able to do a week ago academically, is so fulfilling. To see a child smile when they walk in your classroom knowing their home life circumstances, is so fulfilling. To hear laughing, joking, and conversations in your classroom while they are learning, is so fulfilling."

"My ultimate goal for each one of my students is for them to meet the standards, but this cannot happen without building a relationship/foundation with your students and letting them know that you are advocating for them. I get to make an impact. I feel as though I have a purpose in my job. I am that role model for these students who may not have one at home. I am part of a stepping stone that will get these children through many years of school. As a recent college graduate, I can remember the name of every teacher I have had from kindergarten to college. This proves that each and every teacher I have had has had an impact on me in some way. I want my students to never forget my name because of the role I decided to take on. It is overwhelming? Yes. Can it break you down and make you feel like you’re not good enough? Yes. Are we appreciated like we should be? No. But, at the end of the day, there is so much good. That student hugging you after feeling like a lesson didn’t go as planned, makes it worth it. That student who randomly tells you a joke just to make you laugh, makes it worth it. That student who has been struggling with a concept finally getting a question correct because of YOUR help, makes it worth it. I can honestly say that I love walking into my classroom and teaching the future of the world every single day. I get to be that person who tells my students “you can do it” when they think they can’t. I get to be that teacher who is there for that student when no one else is. I get to be that teacher who sees growth in a student when they previously were not able to master a concept. I get to be a role model, create relationships, and be the one who sets stern expectations with my students that allows them to grow academically, and so, so much more."

From College to the Classroom...

“College to the classroom has not been that big of a transition for me. I worked for 6 years in a daycare with Kindergarten-5th grade children which was a HUGE advantage for me. This allowed me to get used to managing student behavior, talking to parents, and being confident when speaking. I was able to get a routine, set expectations, and go through many trial and errors with classroom management before even stepping foot into a classroom. Having this experience truly prepared me for being in the classroom. Without routines, clear expectations, and an effective classroom management plan, teaching students what they need to know is that much more difficult. I have gotten many compliments that my colleagues forget that I am a first-year teacher because I have stepped into the role perfectly. I believe that LSU sets a great educational foundation for future teachers. We do many observations at different schools, we get many hours inside a classroom teaching and assisting teachers, we Volunteer in Public Schools (VIPS), we learn the legalities of teaching, we are required to write many lesson plans, have 2 semesters of methods classes, and a rigorous student teaching experience. All these combined truly allowed me to take on the role of having a classroom of my own with ease. In Dr. Dr. Margaret Denny’s class we learned all about the beginning of school and setting those classroom expectations. We wrote scripts for the first day through the first week of school and created a complete classroom management plan at the end of the semester that I referred to as I was getting ready for the beginning of the school year. In Dr. Alica Benton’s classroom we learned all about ELA methods and teaching ELA. It truly meant a lot that she was a 2nd grade teacher for so long and she was able to teach with experience in the area as well as instruct us on methods proven to work. In Dr. Pamela Blanchard’s class we learned how to teach Science to the fullest using the 5E lesson plans. In Deborah Heroman’s class we learned all about integrating technology in the classroom, which is a huge move that is occurring in school around the world. We are going to a technology-based education system and this class showed a world of possibilities that teachers and students can use. Some, I use in my classroom today. Dr. Laura Piestrzynski was the most amazing student teaching supervisor. She guided me through every step of the way and gave me amazing feedback. She was understanding and broke a whole semester down of assignments into manageable sizes for us to complete. She made navigating student teaching, a stressful and overwhelming semester, into an enjoyable time. She made all assignments due on Sundays and every Sunday was consistent with what was expected from us. She understood the position and stress student teachers are under and made the semester enjoyable which allowed me to absorb all the valuable information presented. In Dr. Sassy Wheeler's class, we learned how to include diversity in our classrooms, to make everyone feel welcomed. She showed us books we could read, ways to in cooperate this into our lessons, and to be open minded to the different cultures, races, and identities that will be present in our classrooms. In Kristin Gansel’s class, we learned about the Special Education department. We learned the legalities with educational acts, IEP’s, 504’s, FAPE, and court cases that I refer to on a day-to-day basis in my career. Dr. Kerri Tobin taught us how to teach Social Studies with the C3 Framework and spent time making us folders and bags of supplies we were to use in her class for us to pick up during COVID learning so that we could still get the hands-on experience we deserved. In Thomas Rick’s/Ellen Daughtery’s class we were put in the shoes of the students learning by using a base 3 number system rather than using the base 10 number system we are used to so that we could feel like students learning information for the first time and encouraging a more student led style of teaching, Big Math Ideas (BMI’s), and anticipating responses. LSU’s teaching program has future teachers go to many schools for hours (EBR, WBR, ULAB), do many observations, teach and aid teachers, a rigorous student teaching experience, VIPS, and rigorous methods/block classes that make the transition easier.”

Words of Wisdom

"LSU does well at preparing for “the real world”. Is the transition still going to be difficult? Yes. But, it was made easier by the experiences that I was put through. Having the rigor beforehand allows first year teachers, like me, to have an easier first year. We get so much experience and hands-on learning. I advise that future teachers take what our SOE professors are teaching us and absorb it. Use every experience to its fullest and learn everything you need/want to know, so that when you step into a classroom you are more prepared. Take school seriously and have a passion for this fulfilling job. These experiences are presented to us for us to learn from them. It’s not easy, but neither is teaching. Take what LSU provides and learn all that you can so that you are fully prepared when you accept a job, have a classroom of your own, and it is your responsibility to teach the future of the world."