Getting to know Lauren Hamberg
February 16, 2018
How did you end up where you are now? Where did you come from? What´s your story?
“Where did I come from? I came from here. I went to high school here.”
What were the experiences that lead you here?
“Went through the whole Spanish program. I was the first class to start in seventh grade, followed it all the way up and then I went to Grand Valley. At Grand Valley, I studied abroad in Bilbao for the academic year. That was 9 and a half months and then I teacher assisted at Union in Grand Haven. And then I came back here to student teach with Montroy. And then she retired and then I was like ‘hey I would like that job. And now I am here.”
How has Montroy impacted you as a teacher today?
“You have to start [with Montroy’s impact on me] all the way back to high school Spanish because I had her my second half of Spanish three all the way through five. Even in Spanish 3, she kept saying ‘you gotta go abroad, you gotta go abroad.’ She is the reason I went abroad and had that amazing experience and the influence she and all of the teachers I had at Grand Haven have had on me is the reason why I am a teacher. Then coming back to student teach for her and really push boundaries in the Spanish classes. To be crazy, have fun, and Danza Kuduro it up every Friday. She [Montroy] is definitely the reason why I am here and with energy and making relationships with students.”
What is it like to actually take over Montroy´s position after being influenced by her so greatly?
“It’s some pretty darn big shoes to fill. Taking everything she taught me and how to be a student teacher and then making it my own and making sure that my own personality is in there is definitely a process.”
What is it like going straight from student teaching to a full time teaching position?
“I definitely would not have been able to do it if it wasn’t here. Specifically, one because the staff and the department around me are extremely supportive, I already know them, they are great people and they are going to help me out no matter what and I knew that coming in. Besides that the kids are amazing. If I didn’t have these kids it would have been very difficult. But with as easy as they make it, it´s not bad at all.¨
What are you most excited about in your future time here teaching?
“I am excited because the Spanish department is moving forward with changing the curriculum in order to make sure that the kids are really getting an immersion type of experience. To be a part of making that more authentic and have kids leaving here that can actually speak Spanish, that is what I am most excited about, to be a part of that.”
Is there anything else you want the student body to know about you?
¨I snort when I laugh, get over it. I will always have food… come visit me. Russ’ is the best place ever. There soup and salad bar is legit. I would like the student body to know that I really love churros in chocolate. Hopefully, someone will take that to heart. And that they should join the swing dance club.”
Spanish teacher Kirsten Montroy resigns to spend more time with family
How would you announce your resignation?
I am never going to give anything but my absolute in the classroom and my problem lately is that I come home and I am exhausted and I don’t have enough energy for my kids. At some point, something has to give and it’s not fair for either group, my kids at home or my students here to suffer because I am tired.”
How did you finally decide that this was what was really best for you and your family?
“This past semester things kind of fell into place for us as a family. We moved to Grand Rapids to this amazing little community that truly embodies what we feel like are important things for us. It´s truly an ´it takes a village environment. I had two student teachers who were just phenomenal, and I looked at those two individuals and was like ‘wow this is the next generation’ and they are amazing. Seeing that helped me realize that there are so many great next generation teachers. There was no way I was ever going to step away from this job and my students if I didn’t know there were great potential candidates available so that kind of solidified everything for us.”
What emotions are there for you and your classes during these last few weeks?
“Bittersweet definitely comes to mind. There is some sadness because this is 13 years of teaching for me, 11 in this building, and this feels like home to me and I am kind of stepping away from my home and my comfort zone here to be with my family.”