BENOIT MOTORS TEACHER OF WEEK: Schroeder continuing family’s legacy of teaching

Published 8:42 am Friday, January 12, 2024

By Emily Burleigh

For third-grade teacher Michelle Schroeder, 37, the opportunity to educate young people and invest in their lives is a privilege and joy.

“Watching them learn, getting to know them and what they enjoy, this is my favorite part!”

She was raised in a family of educators; Her dad was an elementary resource teacher, her grandmother a physical education teacher, her grandfather was the Dean of Science and Technology at McNeese State University.

She internalized her family’s love for teaching at a young age, and is happy to continue their legacy.

“I was surrounded by educators growing up and saw how much they enjoyed what they did. When I decided to go into education later on in my life, I was proud to follow in their footsteps.”

After graduating from Barbe High School, she went to Louisiana Tech to earn her undergraduate degree in speech pathology. In 2018, she furthered her education even more by attending McNeese for a master’s in teaching.

After she and her family moved overseas, Schroeder found herself in a classroom teaching English as a second language. It wasn’t until this moment that she developed a passion for teaching.

“I did not know how much I would enjoy teaching! I loved spending time with the students, seeing them learn, thinking of creative ways to present information and just making learning fun.”

She has taught for nine years now.

Currently, she is at Western Heights Elementary. When she first started there, she taught fifth grade resource, but now teaches third grade English language arts. She is also a mentor teacher and a member of the PBIS committee. Previously, she taught Pre-K at St. Luke-Simpson and fifth grade math and science at Hamilton Christian School.

ELA is the subject she chose to teach because she loves “digging into a good book.” The experience of reading is enhanced when she gets to do it with her students. While teaching her students, Schroeder witnesses their comprehension skills grow and their individual opinions form.

“Students continually point out different viewpoints and it amazes me how they come to their conclusions.”

What Schroeder teaches is foundational for her students. By molding them into proficient readers, she can ensure they will be able to effectively continue their education and become productive members of the community.

“As students continue in their education journey they start to notice which subjects they like and dislike, which helps them decide which occupation they want to pursue. The goal is for students to become adults that give back to their community through volunteering or in their day-to-day job.

She believes third-graders are “some of the most fun students” to teach.

“They love to share what they have learned, a fun story or funny joke, or just tell me about their day. They are a joy to be around!”

The fun has with her students is her favorite part of the job. Throughout the school year, she builds healthy relationships with her students that allows her to get to know them on a more personal level.

“I enjoy learning about what they like, hearing about their sports games, and learning about the latest video games. They bring a smile to my face.”

In turn, she makes her classroom a space where all students feel cared for and comfortable.

“My hope is that when a student steps into my classroom they know that it is a place where they belong and are seen and heard.”