After serving as Mrs. Conner’s long-term substitute English and broadcast journalism teacher last year, Mrs. Maureen Lanious taken a new position at Jamesville-Dewitt Middle School. In the first weeks of her new placement, Lanious has made a few adjustments for the younger students. According to Lanious, the middle school English curriculum “focuses much more on foundational skills.” At the high school, she felt kids were very confident in reading and writing, while students in the middle school are focusing more on starting good habits like reading every night and participating in reading/writing workshops.
Although there was so much chaos through all of the COVID-19 regulations, Lanious knew she couldn’t stand idly by. She said, “If I sat this one out, then I would be missing a whole bunch of skills and experiences that I think teachers across the world will have in common, and that is a uniting thing.”
Lanious is going to miss the J-DHS students and staff the most. In her time at the high school, she enjoyed “getting excited with students for some milestones like dances and proms and pep rallies and the college search.” She loves making it easier for students to feel safe, like they can talk to her and rely on her. “Helping guide students through and creating space for young adults to talk about issues that mean the most to them is why I love my job.”
Lanious entered college as a political science major with hopes of a position of leadership to make change. But she came to realize change doesn’t always have to be huge, grand ordeals. She found out sometimes the smallest changes are the most important. While she was still in college she began working as an aide with a kindergartener who had Down’s Syndrome. She left work every day feeling good. Helping children achieve small things that were hard for them gave her a strong sense of gratification.
Lanious started teaching right out of college. In fact, it was actually her first “real” job. She started her journey of teaching at a middle school in Richmond, Virginia in 2001. Now, almost twenty years later, the J-D school district has been fortunate to enjoy her talents at both the middle and high schools.