Ms. Laura Anderson is one of the second-grade teachers at the Evelyne Sheats Lower School. She has over 30 years of teaching experience and is in her third year at Rabun Gap. She and her husband, John, live in Dillard and have three adult children.
Where are you from?
I was born in Los Angeles. When I was seven, we moved to Cleveland, Ohio where I spent the rest of my growing up years.
What made you choose to work at Rabun Gap?
After teaching in public schools for many years I needed a change and found The Little School in Clarkesville. It was a breath of fresh air and a place where I rediscovered my love and passion for teaching. When Rabun Gap opened the Lower School, I knew immediately I had to come for many reasons. The biggest reason was that their philosophy for teaching matched my own in many ways, and another was the chance to live in the mountains, my favorite place to be.
What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
Rabun Gap is a place where each person is valued. It’s a community that encourages, cares for, and accepts all kinds of people. The students here are the friendliest and most respectful I’ve ever known, and the teachers are hard-working, creative, and love what they are doing.
What do you like most about teaching at the Lower School?
I am teaching with the best group of teachers I’ve ever worked with. They love the kids, are creative and are always willing to help. They are fun to be with and always ready to jump in and create something great for the students. I also like that the students LOVE to come to school.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher as a young child. I used to play school with a seating chart and assignments for my stuffed animals and dolls. I love everything about teaching: coming up with an interesting and exciting way to teach a concept, thinking of a different way to reach that one child or class when the first or second way doesn’t work, connecting with a student in a way that encourages them to believe in themselves, seeing the lightbulb go on in a student, watching a student progress further than they thought they could, and building the relationships that help students achieve success.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want my class to be a place where kids feel accepted and safe enough to risk failure so they can achieve success. I want them to enjoy learning even when it’s hard. If they enjoy learning they will be motivated and will go way beyond what is expected. If they feel safe they will take those risks that will help them try new things. I believe education should be kid-driven, where their interests are included in the learning process and where their needs are met so all students can learn.
What were you like in elementary school?
I was very shy and quiet. I was always reading and worked hard. I loved school even though I sometimes struggled.
What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?
My husband and I love to hike, spend time with our kids, and I LOVE to read. Something else I like to do is cross-stitch and quilt.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
Counseling has always been an interest of mine. I worked in a counseling ministry for several years in my church; leading workshops, training people and counseling with my husband as a team. I also homeschooled my own children up until they were in 11th, 9th, and 5th grade. I am so glad I had that time with them.