Today's Guest: Lanie Matula
My name is Lanie Matula and I was born and raised in Austin, Texas! I have been teaching 4th grade for five years and love every minute of it! My students are my world! They are loving, caring, compassionate, inquisitive, and sometimes hyper! As a class, we build a community so we can rely on one another at any point and time. We build trust with restorative circles and hold each other accountable for our actions! When the day ends, we all know we care for each other and will be there for one another no matter what.
I work with a very diverse population, where most students come from low-income families. The schools I’ve worked at are considered to be Title 1 schools, meaning that they receive federally funded support. For some of my students, school is the only place they will receive a meal and have as a safe space with someone to trust. Throughout the year I personally purchase my students supplies, backpacks, coats, clothes, books and snacks.
Teaching comes with its own struggles – but being a lesbian teacher tends to have more. I am out to my students and their parents, and it has had its hardships and challenges, but this year showed me that what I am doing IS right. For me and for those students that might need reassurance that it’s okay to be ‘different,’ that those feelings you have are normal, and that you don’t have to hide if you don’t want to.
I had a student tell me that they were scared of life and who they were until they found out I was a lesbian. She smiled at me and said, ‘Thank you. Thank you so much for being you. You made me realize that I wasn’t weird. That something wasn’t wrong with me. You saved me and I can’t thank you enough for that.’ If I can save one child’s life, that’s enough for me.
This next year I would like to start a leadership and support program for anyone that would like to join! I want to make sure that the students of my school have a safe place to go to. All children need to learn about acceptance, empathy, kindness, communication and love.
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