Lauren Verzaal (or Ms. V as her students call her) joins one of her ECU professors (Tim Dameron) in the JPII math department starting in August. She chose JPII because of the support she felt from the school to develop her teaching style during her beginning teacher years. “It seemed like a great opportunity for me as a first-year teacher to have an amazing support system not only in the math department but with the incoming principal and other faculty members as well. Teaching is my biggest passion and I am excited to become an educator and make an impact on the lives of future generations of students!” she said.
Verzaal has always dreamt of becoming a teacher since she was little because she has always enjoyed school and excelled in the classroom as a student. “To me, building relationships with my teachers and working hard to earn good grades were some of the most important parts of my education,” Verzaal said. Her journey to make her dream a reality started in 9th grade when she enrolled in a class called Teacher Cadet. She would go on to take the class all four years of high school and during that time she had the opportunity to be a student teacher intern in a 7th grade math classroom. She served as a teacher’s assistant creating lesson plans, grading papers, and pulling students out to work in small study groups.
What Verzaal most enjoys about teaching is building relationships with her students because she feels it is one of the biggest make-or-break moments for a student. “If a student does not like their teacher and feels that they are not open to communication, then the student will be less likely to be motivated to do their work and ask questions. If a student feels like they can talk to their teacher, they will be motivated to succeed and feel more comfortable asking for help. I enjoy finding ways to relate math to the real world and explain new concepts to students in a way they are able to understand. As a teacher, you could be the best part or the worst part of a student’s day!”
For Verzaal, the goal of education in a school setting is to allow students to gain skills necessary to be successful in life and prepare them for the world outside of the classroom. “Students learn so much more than the curriculum when they are in the classroom. They learn how to work and communicate with their peers, organize notes, keep track of deadlines while having multiple classes, and listen and learn when it is appropriate to speak. The purpose of students going to school every day is to ensure that children receive all of these skills that many of them may not learn outside of the classroom but will use for the rest of their lives in any career path they choose to pursue.”
Verzaal will graduate from East Carolina University with a bachelor of science in education with concentrations in math and science. She started figure skating at the age of five and was the president of the ECU Figure Skating Club. During college, she has been a figure skating coach, tutored her peers, and worked with the Office of Student Transitions including two summers as an orientation assistant.