Third grade teacher LaKeysha Arthur is a member of the founding team at Paul Habans Charter School. A TeachNOLA fellow, Arthur is a first-year teacher with many years of experience working with youth and in the education sector. Through TeachNOLA, she receives continual support, observation, and feedback in conjunction with professional development at Habans. Prior to changing careers, Arthur served as the Annual Fund Manager for Xavier University and as a youth/young adult director for a local church.
When asked about what compelled her to change careers and become a teacher, Arthur cited her past experience as a youth mentor. She said she welcomed the opportunity to help propel children from academic failure to success in and out of the classroom. “Serving as a mentor in a low-income community provided me with a firsthand view of the needs of our youth,” she said. “I was drawn to early education because I wanted to provide scholars with the foundational skills needed to move up the academic ladder. I found that students who lacked the foundational skills became uninterested in education and carried around a feeling of defeat. I wanted better for my students and decided the best way to assist them and others would be to become an educator.”
Arthur said her favorite teaching moment so far has been the joy exhibited by her students when they grasp a new concept or lesson. “The enthusiasm and interest on the faces of scholars is rewarding, knowing that I have enlightened them and ensured that they are prepared for their educational journey,” she said.
While she acknowledged the challenges of being a teacher, Arthur said the rewards outweigh the struggles. “It can be frustrating to feel as though we do not have enough time in the day to cover all material and answer the many questions that scholars have about a lesson,” she said. “But I find it very rewarding that I am ensuring that my students will receive an education no matter their background, ethnicity, or social status.”
As a new teacher, Arthur said she is thankful for the abundant professional development, encouragement, and support that she receives at Habans. She said that the continual feedback from leadership and parents is critical to the development of a first-year educator. “The school has an open door policy, which means other teachers, Directors of Curriculum and Instruction, the principal, parents, or any visitors can visit your classroom at any time,” she said. “When feedback is given, it is immediately shared with the staff. Receiving feedback quickly allows me to effectively practice my craft and make changes to my techniques, allowing scholars to receive better instruction. And professional development helps us to become holistic educators. Our leadership team at Habans believes you can never receive enough training and knowledge; there is always more to learn.”