Laura Drum: Teacher of the Year


Adrian Garcia

For the 2018-2019 School year Laura Drum has won teacher of the year district-wide. She teaches a wide variety of classes, including two English Learner classes, AP Lit, and Journalism. She is the Language Arts Department Chair and the EL Coordinator.  She’s very passionate about her teaching career, and it shows. She puts in the effort and has more than deserved to win teacher of the year. Here’s a glimpse into the mind of Laura Drum:

What do you do that sets you apart from other teachers?

“Because I have the good forturne to teach to teach my English Learners, my Journalism class, and my AP class, it really gives me an opportunity to teach such a wide variety of kids, which reminds me about learning in general. Teaching English Learners and AP Lit shows me both extremes of the spectrum and it reminds me that all kids can learn and that all learning is essentially the same regardless of the type of student.”

You’ve won teacher of the year this year, but what do you think you still have to improve upon as a teacher?

“I have a lot of room to grow, and I think that one of the most important things to remember as a teacher is that you are never done learning and trying new things. I still feel  as though I have tons of room to grow. There are things I still want to try, things I still want to do– for instance I did not have 100% proficiency among my students, so I do believe that there is always room to grow.”

What would you say is the defining factor that won you teacher of the year?

“I think that a part of it is that I just got lucky and I have just some really awesome people that nominated me. I also had the opportunity to have my hands in many things, being department chair, Journalism advisor, a member of that Shark Support Squad, and so I just really had more room to shine. I also know that I work really hard and I know that if you really love kids and love teaching then you will be a great teacher.”

What is the best and the worst aspect of teaching such a variety of classes?

“Some days I feel like I am trying to be in too many places at once. You can’t be great at everything, so sometimes I start to worry that if I begin to put too much focus on one area of my job then the others will suffer, so balance is really, really important. However, in contrast, I think that if Ifocused on only one subject then I would lose my perspective.”

There are a number of great teachers here at Santiago High School. Which of them would you recommend to be teacher of the year next year?

“I am going to pick somebody from my own department because I feel that I know the people from my department the best, and so I am going to say Rachel Niles. I feel that way because she has really stepped up and taken many leadership roles at our school, and I know what a great job she does in the classroom. I know just how much she cares about her job, but the fact is that she has really accepted these challenges and just gone above and beyond and really helped out the department, so I think she really deserves the recognition.”

In schools, specifically high schools, who do you think puts in more effort: the student or the teacher?

“Oooh, that’s a tough one.  I do believe that many students today, especially those enrolled in honors and AP classes, work much harder than I did when I was in high school, not only based on the amount of work, but students these days are required to juggle so much and be involved in so many more programs because of how competitive colleges are today. I also think that the teachers at Santiago are incredibly hardworking, and I feel that if the students here knew what it was like to attend a different school, they would feel so incredibly grateful top be a student at Santiago.”

Mrs. Drum has worked in CNUSD for 16 years and has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is today. She has just earned teacher of the year for CNUSD, but she will not begin to stagnate and will continue to work hard and achieve new heights every day.

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