Teacher Lauren ‘Paige’ Lirette looks for the positive in each day 

Published 7:43 am Thursday, June 1, 2023

Teaching fell into the lap of Lauren “Paige” Lirette, 28, “in the most wonderful way possible” in 2017.

After graduating from college, she found herself seeking direction. “I just wasn’t sure of the direction that I wanted to go with my career.”

She was waitressing at night, and decided to commit her days to substituting. It didn’t take long for the Calcasieu Parish School District to notice her. “I was a sub one singular day in a classroom before CPSB called me asking if I was interested in a position teaching Spanish.”

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At McNeese, she earned her bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in Spanish. After a couple of years of teaching under her belt, in 2019 she returned to McNeese to earn her Masters of Arts in teaching.

She has taught at several Calcasieu Parish schools: Washington-Marion High, Iowa Middle, Iowa High, Oak Park Middle, DeQuincy Middle, DeQuincy Elementary, Sam Houston High and F.K. White Middle.

At these schools, she taught Spanish for grades fourth through 12th – and at one point 11th grade English.

Currently, she teaches Spanish for sixth, seventh and eighth grades at F.K. White.

After a few months, Lirette fell in love with the profession, students and the impact she is able to make.

Teaching checks the five boxes she had for her dream career: Working with people, making a difference in the lives of those people, new daily adventures, a schedule that allowed her to raise a family and a way to make people happier in some way.

“Working as an educator met these desires I had for a career and has been more fulfilling than any other job that I could possibly have.”

Her students keep her motivated. “Each student I’ve taught across the eight campuses I’ve had the honor of working in has been my inspiration to continue teaching and improve myself.”

As her students learn, she learns. Through their feedback, positive and negative, Lirette gains the knowledge she needs to be an effective educator. “Every word they write down, every lesson they learn, every lightbulb moment helps me understand how to improve myself so they can improve themselves.”

She is certain that all students can flourish, so long as the right systems are in place for them. However, these systems need to meet the student where they are at. “Success is not linear and will not look the same for each child… any amount of effort poured into these students is effort well spent.”

For Lirette, education is an investment in both the individual and the community, stating it is something that “cannot be given, and once earned, cannot be taken.”

“When we have educated members of our community, it improves how our community functions, how we treat one another, and how we teach our own children about the importance of education.”

Her role at CPSB will be evolving after summer break. In the 2023 -2024 school year, she will become a dean of students and a social studies curriculum coordinator.

As a dean, she will coordinate and plan student events.

She will also be able to support teachers in her role as a social studies curriculum coordinator.

She will provide them with a deeper understanding of the new social studies standards and will oversee and assist with the district wide implementation for all grade levels and disciplines.

This year, she trained alongside administration at F.K. White to learn the ins and outs of educational leadership. “In this upcoming year, I will continue in these roles, focusing on them more as I transition out of the classroom.”

For both herself and her peers, she believes that the best habit is to not fall into “cyclic negativity.” She avoids this by looking for the positive in each day. “Even if it’s something as small as having the quiet student tell you ‘Good morning,’ it can be the thing that makes the hard parts about education worth it,” she said. “You may not reach every student that you teach, but reaching just one is enough to say that you made a difference.”