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Teacher of the Issue: Ms. Laroche

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Ms. Laroche helps Garrett Dunne, Div.953, during her Honors British Literature class.

Ms. Laroche helps Garrett Dunne, Div.953, during her Honors British Literature class.

James Coyne

James Coyne

Ms. Laroche helps Garrett Dunne, Div.953, during her Honors British Literature class.

By Jadyn Dubach, Reporter

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From kindergarten to high school, English teacher Ms. Laroche never changed her mind on what she has wanted to be. Since she was six years old, she has known that her future career would be teaching. While the subjects and grade levels she has wanted to teach have changed, her original passion has remained the same.

“In first grade I had a really awesome teacher; I still remember her and after first grade when I got to school, I would go back to her classroom and help her students,” Laroche said.

Laroche has been working at Lane for 10 years as an English teacher. Her knowledge, pride and never ending support for her students are a few of the reasons she is

Zach Rogers, Div. 851, has had Ms. Laroche for two years as both a Brit Lit student and an AP Lang student. He said that she is an effective teacher due to her expectations for her students and helpful attitude.

“She pushes students to reach their potential and guides them along the way giving pointers and new writing techniques,” Rogers said.

Laroche teaches two junior English classes: Honors British Literature and AP English Language and Composition. The classes have different course titles; however, according to Laroche, the main goal of both is relatively the same: to teach students how to effectively construct well-written and coherent essays as well as improve students’ knowledge and shape them into young adults.

“I just want to help students become better writers, readers, and human beings,” Laroche said.

Both classes are similar in their goals and expectations, but the content varies from the honors level to the AP level course.

“The content [is the biggest difference] because Brit Lit is more literature-focused and AP is more language-focused and now with all of the academic center kids coming, I have a lot of sophomores in my Brit Lit classes,” Laroche said.

With sophomores in her Brit Lit classes, Laroche is more likely to have those same students again for AP Lang the following year. According to school counselors, Academic Center students take Brit Lit during their sophomore year to better prepare themselves for the AP Lang workload the next year. Students grow and develop their voices so much over the course of one year that they are well prepared for AP Lang.

“The maturity of discussions and the way texts are analyzed are at a higher level in AP Lang,” Rogers said. “Also, the perspective by which we look at texts is different.”

According to Rogers, Laroche provides tools and resources to help her students succeed that will benefit them not only on the AP exam, but throughout the remainder of their high school years, and onto college.

Her class trains students to break out of the “cookie cutter” style essays that consist of five simple paragraphs and explore language and non-traditional essay format.

Jeremy Zelner, Div. 778, is a senior who had Ms. Laroche as an AP Lang teacher last year.

“She takes your writing, crushes it where it needs to be crushed and then rebuilds, and polishes in other places, so when you’re done you have a brand new writing style with your core attributes you already brought to the table,” Zelner said.

AP tests have recently ended and with their conclusion, students eagerly wait for their scores to come out, hoping for at least a passing score.

Laroche uses several techniques when helping her students to prepare for the exam: in-class essays every couple of weeks and “no choice multiple choice” which allows students to strategically think about how to answer the question before viewing any answer options until they have completed the assignment. According to Zelner, this process aids in preparation for the AP Lang exam.

“She prepared me super well,” Zelner said. “I am a better writer because of her. It is not something I can explain really, she kind of just does it and ‘boom’ you’re ready.”  

It is common for AP teachers to try and cram in as much information as possible before the May exams; however, Laroche uses a style that gradually increases writing skills when teaching her students. This allows her to teach what students need to become overall better writers.

With her curriculum, Laroche focuses on the skills of writing and understanding literature so that students do not have to worry so much about studying for the exam.

Essentially, by exam time, students already have all the information they need. According to Rogers, it comes down to applying the skills that students gained throughout the year.

“My focus is less on the actual test and more on the skill of writing, and if you develop your voice as a writer and you develop your techniques as a writer, you will do better on the exam,” Laroche said.

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Teacher of the Issue: Ms. Laroche