Millennial Spotlight with Lawriee

Enjoying dinner at Fresh between Lawriee’s work and evening dragonboat practice (Toronto, Canada)

Lawriee H. (@lawrieekh)
Age: 24 | Profession: Middle School Teacher

Lawriee is a gifted and inspiring teacher both inside and outside of the school institution. Toronto students from grades 4-10 know her as a passionate teacher that brings innovative ideas to the classroom, but many of her fellow millennials know her as a driven, experienced dragonboat paddle coach. When she’s not teaching full-time, Lawriee paddles with a premier dragonboat team and shares what she’s learned from years of paddling with the University College Dragon Boat Club. She teaches others to “stay humble, stay hungry”. It’s a very fitting motto for someone who just raced in the 2018 Hungary Dragon Boat World Championships!

Read more about Lawriee’s thoughts on our generation below in today’s Millennial Spotlight.

1. What are some characteristics that you share with other millennials?
Millennials like to feel busy which is something I can relate to. They stack their plates with more than they can handle which is usually driven by passion. I think millennials are also accepting and open people.

2. What negative perceptions can you think of, and do you agree/disagree with them?
We are considered selfish but it’s not that we don’t care about family. We are selfish in the sense that we know our lives are our own and we want to live our lives the way we think we can live it to the fullest. I don’t think it’s a negative thing. We do focus on our own lives, but not in a way where we forget about other people.

Another negative perception that I actually agree with is that millennials get butthurt so easily. There is so much focus on being politically correct because so many people get their feelings hurt for anything. For example, when I was a leader during orientation week the older leaders were telling us not to use the term “frosh week” because it’s derogatory. A better example is that in second year my professor spent a two hour lecture telling us not to say “hey guys” because it is considered offensive. It was a huge waste of time and I just think everyone is being a bit too extreme. Of course it’s important to be mindful, but not to the extreme.

I can’t think of any more negative things but I always feel that there are alot for whatever reason.

3. What makes this generation different from the last?
If you watched Crazy Rich Asians, there is the stereotype of North Americans doing all that they can to achieve their individual goals. I think it’s true that in our generation we value our individual goals and will do whatever it takes to get that over valuing more traditional, family-oriented goals. For example, my mom wanted me to be a nurse to take care of the family, but I can’t even stand the thought of needles. It was tough for my parents to accept that I went into music, but now that I have a job as a music teacher they see that it all worked out in the end. The hard work pays off for millennials if they go into a career that is truly driven by their passion vs. going into a career based on what your family wants you to do.

4. As a Middle School Teacher, can you talk about your job and a little bit about teaching?
I love my job. I think being a teacher is the most important job in the world because you are literally teaching the next generation. However, there are too many people that go into education that shouldn’t be there. These people are there for the wrong reasons (i.e. if their first career didn’t go well, then they think it’s going to be easy to go into teaching – it’s not). Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher.

I was talking to my mentor the other day because I was scared about meeting parents on curriculum night because I felt they would be judging me for how young I am. My mentor said: “I would be happy to have a ‘fresh blood’ teacher who is open to trying new things”. This is because teachers who have been here for a while are less willing to try new things. They have this idea that since they’ve been teaching for 20 or whatever number of years that they know how things work, so they give alot of rebuttals and aren’t willing to try new teaching methods. Not everyone is like this, but I can see what she means.

I work in an alternative school where some of the students here have a history of behavioral problems. Even though I went to teacher’s college, I feel like I got thrown into teaching. Until you are dealt the cards you are dealt with, you don’t really know what you’re up against. My students are very nice and it’s a small class, but it’s hard because they can be really chatty and dramatic. They are at an age where everything really matters no matter how small. It’s interesting at a inner city school because you need teachers that really care to work here. You are not only teaching a subject, but you are teaching the students life skills. I agreed to work here because I love teaching. If no one teaches here, these kids are never going to learn.

5. What are some of the main thoughts on your mind right now?
The main thought on my mind is teaching. I’m living day to day. I am constantly thinking about my plans for the next day, while also thinking about balancing a whole bunch of other commitments. I overthink alot of different things. My mind is as busy as me! I’m trying to perfect my lesson plans and do more for these students but I have to remember that it’s okay to deliver a plan that is simple. I’m making all my lessons fun but not everything has to be fun. Right now I’m finding that I’m the first to go to school and the last to leave.


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