When it comes to educating, Arizona teachers are always working to find ways to connect with their students. Several new teachers in the Kyrene School District can honestly say they’ve been right where their students are today.
“It feels like home, it feels like I came back to my roots a little bit,” said Michele Lucas, who loves to teach. “When you’re in the classroom with the kids there's an energy and a vitality in seeing them learn and interacting with them that I don't think can be replicated anywhere else.”
That energy brought Lucas back to the classroom after four years as a stay-at-home mom. This is her first year teaching seventh grade social studies at Kyrene Del Pueblo Middle School in Chandler, but her ties to the district span decades. She attended both elementary and middle school in the Kyrene School District.
“It works for me really well to bring in the local history, Arizona history while I'm teaching American history,” she said.
Across campus, Madison Frederick and Taylor Soggie also understand the student perspective firsthand.
“I went here from 2005 to 2008,” said Soggie.
“I actually learned in this very classroom,” said Frederick.
Friends since meeting on the Pueblo campus in sixth grade, they hope their own experiences can now inspire a new generation of students.
“I personally think it's awesome to just kind of come back full circle 10 years later,” said Soggie.
“You can definitely leave here feeling educated, feeling positive about your future and hopefully wanting to come back and give back to the community in which you grew up in, like I did,” said Frederick.
Kyrene had 100 teachers at New Educators Orientation this year. Nine of them are former students in the district and three are now teaching at the same school they attended.