Alanna Cornes: Teaching is a calling
Published 5:37 am Thursday, May 19, 2022
Alanna Cornes sees her classroom as an extension of her mission field.
“I teach because I see education as a type of mission work — a way to serve others, and to help people find a way to develop and nurture their God-given talents to not only better themselves, but also enrich the communities in which they live, work, pray, vote and raise families,” she said. “We must teach our children not to squander those God-given gifts; they must discover what their purpose is in life, and then do what they were always meant to with those gifts.”
Cornes — a teacher at Merryville High School and the 2021-2022 Beauregard Parish High School Teacher of the Year — said it’s the job of teachers and educators to help students in their care become well-rounded, functional citizens who use their talents and gifts to shape a better world for those around them.
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“For me, the task of an educational leader, as all teachers are, at heart, is an unpretentious one — to ensure student success,” she said. “I am passionate about building relationships. I don’t think, really, that I decided to become an educator. I think that I was always meant to become one, and the realization that I should felt, instead, more like a religious calling — something that had I not done, I would have always regretted.”
Born prematurely at 26 weeks, Cornes said she has multiple learning and physical disabilities as a result.
“Even though I had special needs, I was also gifted in many areas, especially in reading and writing,” she said. “My teachers and school had no idea what to do with a child who was both gifted and who had unique learning needs, so I didn’t receive the help that I truly needed until I was in college. “
Cornes said she promised herself that when she became a teacher she would do everything she could to help all students to the best of her abilities.
“I believe that all students have the inherent capability to be successful, regardless of the labels that the world might put upon them,” she said. “When I see students’ faces light up when they understand ‘Beowulf,’ when they argue over the meaning of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets in class, as several students who were deemed ‘unreachable’ in junior high were last week in my classroom — these are the things that truly matter,” she said.