ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Lauren Pauls
Why have you decided to teach?
I decided to teach because I wanted to give teaching a fair shot as a career. I’ve thought for awhile that I want to go to law school, but I loved my summers with GT and wanted to see if I had what it takes to be a classroom teacher. I still think I’ll go to law school, but I’m planning to complete a second year of Denver Fellows before going back to school. I’m blessed with flexible, meaningful work that’s never ever boring.
What subject(s) and grade level(s) do you teach?
I teach 8th Grade math intervention classes with Denver Math Fellows. I also coach debate online for middle school students on the West Coast through a company called Capitol Debate.
What inspired you to select the school or program you chose?
I chose Denver Math Fellows for the small class sizes (maximum of four students per group!), eligibility for AmeriCorps Education benefits, a 1 year commitment, no licensing/praxis needed, summer availability, time for a second job/passion project, and opportunities for advancement. I’m applying to be a lead fellow next year.
What did you learn from the job process? Were you asked to submit performance tasks, teach demo lessons, or answer unexpected questions?
I learned that preparation is key in the interview process. I taught demo lessons, but my interviews for GT were really similar to my interview with DPS. Reflecting on my GT interviews was a huge part of preparing for my interviews with DPS.
Do you have any advice for your Teaching Fellow colleagues?
Come in with knowledge of mission, vision, and values of the organization you’d like to work for. You WILL be asked about which aspect resonates with you most. If you have a convincing (and not super cheesy) answer, it makes a big impression. Second, set goals for your job performance in the position you’re applying for before the interview, especially if you’re applying to a large company or a geographically broad program like Denver Math and Literacy Fellows. In my interview I said, “I want to work at Henry and increase Math Fellows’ engagement with the SPED program there." My Coordinator has since told me that put my application on the top of the pile. Finally, bring a little GT wherever you go. Not everyone believes that every student (or coworker, or human being for that matter) can grow and succeed no matter what. As long as you do and make it known that you do, the whole organization will be better off.
What is happening in your life beyond your exciting current role?
Teaching online debate on the side, studying for the LSAT, traveling whenever possible, instagramming my cat.
Are you willing to be contacted by GT fellows and alumni who are considering your program?
Of course! My physical school site is closing next year, but I’d be happy to talk to anyone about the Denver Fellows program or about Capitol Debate.
Lauren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.