Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight alumni members and share what they are up to.
After switching careers to education, Laura knew she made the right choice. Now she’s a leader and instructional coach in addition to teaching reading and social studies. While completing her master’s degree wasn’t easy, she’s now enjoying the rewards that come with it and looks forward to furthering her leadership in a future administrative role.
ACE: What’s your current job? Tell us a little about what you do.
Laura Commins (LC): I’m a sixth grade reading and social studies teacher as well as a fifth and sixth grade multi-classroom leader. Additionally, I’m an instructional coach for all our fifth and sixth grade teachers.
ACE: When and how did you know you wanted this to be your career?
LC: I was transitioning from a different career and thinking about what I would want to do. I just knew teaching was it. Now that I’ve been teaching for seven years and coaching other teachers, I’ve really fallen in love with supporting teachers and partnering with them to grow their capacity in the classroom. That prompted me to want to go back to school and get my degree in educational leadership.
ACE: How did you hear about ACE?
LC: In Indianapolis, we have a store for teachers called Teachers’ Treasures and ACE helps sponsor the store, as well as their yearly Donut Dash event, so that is how I heard about ACE.
ACE: How were you able to complete an online degree successfully? What tips would you share?
LC: I must admit, there were times I was not quite sure I would make it through or if I had made the right decision to continue my education. But continue to push through! The reward of finishing is great – I’m looking forward to leading in an administrative role soon. Additionally, do not stress perfection. Just do your best. Some weeks, I just had to get the work done and that was enough.
ACE: How has your ACE degree helped you in your career?
LC: It’s helped me engage in leadership in my school at a higher level as well as understand more about the law regarding schools and the education world. I also had the opportunity to incorporate my passion for culturally responsive teaching into my research, which helped me grow my instructional practices in new ways.
ACE: What’s one of your favorite assignments to give to students?
LC: My favorite assignment is the Gilded Age Dinner Party. Students read short biographies of all the guests. Then, based on those biographies, they need to use text evidence and inference skills to assign them seats at the party.
ACE: Do you have any tips for preventing teacher burnout?
LC: Have other interests that you develop outside of teaching. Two hours a week, I walk dogs at our local Humane Society, which is a big stress reliever. I also workout every day on my Peloton and am an active member of my church’s Worship Arts Team.
ACE: Personally or professionally, what are you loving right now?
LC: Professionally, I am loving that things are moving in a more post-pandemic direction. We are definitely not fully there yet, but the direction we’re moving is positive!
If you’re thinking of doing another program, ACE alumni can come back and save $250 to $1,250, depending on the program, plus you won’t pay an application fee. See details here.