Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Sarah Lindsay is right at home teaching at Eberwhite Elementary. In fact, it’s where she attended elementary school as a child and where her own father, Dave LaMoreaux, went to elementary school when he was growing up in Ann Arbor. She went on to attend Slauson Middle School before graduating from Pioneer High School in 2002 and Michigan State in University in 2006. She received a Master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan in 2009 and is now in her 10th year of teaching.
Lindsay met her husband, Brian Lindsay in 2007 and they married in 2011. They live in a home on Ann Arbor’s west side with their daughter, Grace, who turns 4 next week.
When you recall your first year of teaching, what memories stand out?
My first year of teaching, I was 24 years old and teaching fifth grade. I will never forget the kindness of my coworkers that year—from introducing me to The Teacher’s Store to helping me decorate every wall of my room to helping me navigate through all the surprises that first year of teaching can bring. I am thankful to have had wonderful coworkers I’ve had at every school I’ve been: Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Plymouth, A2 STEAM, and now Eberwhite.
What advice would you give to a first-year teacher?
Don’t give up! The first year can be draining—emotionally and physically. But each year after that gets better.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
From a young age, I played “teacher” in my neighborhood. My cousin was my first “student,” but other neighborhood kids made great students as well. Anything I learned from my own teachers, I wanted to come home and teach again. As I got older, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do teaching as my full-time career. It wasn’t until I was working in corporate America after college, that I noticed that all my volunteering opportunities outside of work involved helping children. I realized that possibly my childhood enjoyment of teaching was a sign of what I truly was meant to do.
What’s the best compliment anyone could give you?
“You were exactly what my child needed that year.” I truly try to get to know what each individual child most needs socially and academically, so it means a lot to me when that is noticed.
In your six years in AAPS, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that within this community, truly anything is possible. The beloved Eberwhite play structures had to be removed this year due to changing safety standards. It was especially heartbreaking for me because my parents helped build these structures and I have a lot of memories on them. However, seeing the whole Eberwhite community come together to raise money for and build a new structure was unbelievable. Some volunteers put in 12-hour days, unpaid, to get this done for the kids. Families from all over the city can now come and enjoy these structures. The willingness of this community to come together, chip in and work together for a common cause is unparalleled.
What’s the happiest part of your day?
I love the start of the school day. Many of my former students walk past my door on their way to their new classrooms. I love seeing my past students wave as they walk by and my current ones smiling as they arrive at my classroom door. After all my students all arrive and are settled in, we gather for our morning meeting. This is a chance for the students to greet one another, share what’s going on in their lives, and sometimes play a game together. It’s a wonderful way to begin the day.
Apps you can’t live without:
What makes teaching at Eberwhite unique?
I’m actually teaching at the school I attended myself as a child, which is unique in itself. So, teaching at Eberwhite is special for me because I’m reliving some of my favorite parts of childhood, except as from an adult perspective. Eberwhite is fortunate to have plenty of fun traditions, a very close-knit community, an amazing playground, and of course, Eberwhite Woods.
What do you know about teaching now that you wish you’d known that first year?
I know now that some of the most important lessons I teach are not actually academic at all. I am teaching my students to be well-rounded, kind, socially responsible human beings. Reading and writing are very important, but being kind and caring is just as important in my classroom.
What do you remember about your first day of first grade as a student?
How do you show school spirit today?
I buy Eberwhite Spirit Wear every single time there is an order.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching?
I love seeing former students and how much they have grown and changed and yet still have the same sweet and energetic personalities.
What do you wish everyone realized about the work of a teacher?
I wish everyone realized that a teacher’s job is truly never done. Evenings, weekends, and summer break can be filled with preparation, committees, professional development, and more.
How do you recharge?
I recharge by sleeping. I haven’t gotten as much sleep since my daughter was born almost four years ago, but I try to catch up on it whenever I can.
How do you spend your summers?
I spend June and July with my family. We visit Ludington, where my husband’s family is from, and usually take another trip or two with my parents. Once August hits, I am back to school and back in my classroom to get it ready for the upcoming year.
What’s most exciting about your professional life right now? Your personal life?
Professionally, I’m most excited about the literacy initiatives our school and district have been making. We’ve been re-vamping our classroom libraries and reading workshop and I love it! Personally, my daughter will be coming to Eberwhite next year in Young 5’s. I’m so excited for her to join me at the school that I love with the people I love.