This Fall marks Third Grade teacher and Denver native Lauren Carranza's 9th year at Escuela de Guadalupe, where she is a favorite among both students and parents.
1. Where are you originally from?
Southeast Denver. I attended school at Most Precious Blood and Mullen High School.
2. What was your dream job when you were in elementary school?
I wanted to be a movie director. I loved movies, especially the old classics with actors like Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand. I collected movies and watched them over and over again, and I fell in love with the stories and the characters! Later in high school, that turned into a love of theater and directing plays. Looking back, though, I've always loved school! I played "school" and "office" at home with an old typewriter and telephone my mom gave me.
I loved (and still love) reading and writing, and I loved doing well in school and being at school with the teacher and friends. I never remember not wanting to go to school. I think there has been a teacher in me for a very long time.
3. What did you study in college?
I studied theater directing at DePaul University in Chicago. I also minored in Journalism and film, and spent 2 years studying Spanish.
I got my teaching license through the Alternative Licensure program with the Archdiocese of Denver and Regis University, and am currently studying for my Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Masters at Regis University. (I'm slated to finish in July 2016.)
4. When/why did you join the Escuela de Guadalupe team?
I had just returned from a year and a half in Guatemala and Honduras. I was working as a bilingual educator at the children's museum, and needed more of a challenge. A close family friend told me about Escuela and I immediately sent in a resume. (I think that was a little bold of me, considering I had never been a teacher…)
Even though I didn't have professional teaching experience at that point, I had been blessed to have several amazing teachers throughout my life and I knew that I had a good foundation for what good teaching looked and felt like. I was called in for an interview the summer of 2007 with Dr. Vernita Vallez, the principal at the time, was hired for the 3rd Grade teaching position and I have been with Escuela ever since!
5.What is your favorite part of teaching?
I love getting to be creative and trying to discover why or how a student learns a new idea. I love trying new things to solve the puzzle of learning and struggles. I love that every day is a different challenge, and that I can learn something new every day about teaching, about a student, about myself. I appreciate the way kids see the world and hope that I keep some of that wonder by being with them daily. I also love working with the adults and parents in a child's life to support them and make them feel dignified and that their ideas and talents matter.
6. What do you do for fun on the weekends? Any special talents?
Food and cooking are pretty much my life outside of Escuela. Cooking for my husband or friends and family is relaxing and pleasurable for me. I try new recipes from all kinds of cultures, or try out my own ideas, and follow a lot of TV shows and podcasts about food around the world. This is also probably my most obvious outward talent.
I also enjoy exercising and yoga (though I am no professional athlete). Lastly, I spend a lot of time reading stories and listening to podcasts for audiences of all ages and interests.