Growing up, Uplift Infinity second grade teacher Lauren Hardage did not see herself as an innovator. At the age of seven, she was diagnosed with dyslexia and school work did not come easy.
But with the help of dedicated and supportive teachers, Ms. Hardage was able to work through her challenges and find success. The adults who worked tirelessly with her inspired her to pursue a career in teaching.
“I became a teacher so that I could help those kids that struggle to realize their potential, and be successful in their lives,” Ms. Hardage said. “I want to help them become well-rounded individuals, academically, socially and emotionally.”
She uses innovative practices with a focus on fostering social and emotional learning. She combines character and moral lessons into her daily routine, allowing scholars to become more socially successful while continuing to focus on core subject areas.
This year, Ms. Hardage hosted a conflict resolution club with second and third grade scholars at Uplift Infinity. They studied scenarios and case studies about discrimination and acted as a problem-solving group in order to try to prevent discrimination and bullying at their campus. Ms. Hardage and other staff members noticed the significant impact the group has made with the culture of the school.
“A scholar, who had previously struggled with using his body instead of words to confront people, has been using the tools and strategies that we learned in the conflict resolution program and from the character and virtue integrated lessons.” Ms. Hardage said proudly, “He is now one of my greatest helpers in the classroom, and is a great role model. I notice an increase in many of my scholars’ awareness of others and themselves, as well as a more efficient vocabulary for resolving conflicts.”
The time she has devoted to character and virtue integrated lessons and working with scholars on collaborative solutions has been a great accomplishment and has helped her create a stronger learning culture in her classroom.
“The greatest compliment a teacher can ever receive is seeing his or her scholars achieve success,” she said, “I get my inspiration from my fellow teachers, and my scholars. Their yearning to learn and understand new concepts keeps me coming back for more.”