GaDOE: When did you first realize you wanted to be a teacher?
Dr. Stefan Lawrence: I realized I wanted to be a teacher in 2009 while I was student-teaching. There was a child who hated school; however, through building a relationship with the student and investing in his personal interests (in his case, to be a barber) I was able to reach him. I let him practice his barber skills on me every two weeks and today he is still my barber and a high school graduate!
GaDOE: What keeps you in the classroom?
Stefan: Every time I see a young person who made a bad decision in the news.
GaDOE: What character qualities make great teachers?
Stefan: A strong moral center, patience, knowledgeable in content area, strong communication skills, determination, and humility.
GaDOE: What is your favorite part of the school year? Why? [You can’t say summer or recess]
Stefan: The beginning of school because I enjoy the process of getting to know a brand new set of students and creating a family atmosphere.
GaDOE: What is the funniest thing a child has ever said to you?
Stefan: While doing an activity on figurative language a student blurted out, “Coach Lawrence, can Stevie Wonder eat at IHop?” The class began to laugh and I started to scold him for disrupting class until he said, “Come on, coach, don’t PUNish me.” There was nothing left to say as he and the class clearly understood the concept.
GaDOE: What is your favorite technology to use for engaging students in learning?
Stefan: The SMARTboard.
GaDOE: Everyone likes to know the morning routine of successful people. What is yours?
Stefan: Shower and groom myself, get dressed, pray for a successful day that allows me to reach as many students as possible, and listen to the Best of Marvin Gaye on the way to work.
What do you tell students when they need encouragement?
I try to tell a funny anecdote from my own life that’s relative to their situation. Laughter is such a powerful tool to ease tension and create motivation and I try to employ it as much as possible.
What do you tell other teachers when they need encouragement?
James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” I tell them that they are a special and most definitely belong and that I will help in whatever way possible in order to facilitate them remaining in the mother of all professions.
GaDOE: What is the best teaching advice you’ve received?
My father told me, “Son, in every way be a reflection to your students of everything you want them to be.”