A common quandary facing many students is whether to call their female teachers Ms. or Mrs. But a pair of teachers at Laurin Middle School puts a new spin on the dilemma. Mother-daughter duo Sarah and Emily Lashua has forced many an eighth grader at the Battle Ground Public Schools middle school to take a second look at their class schedule.
Sarah Lashua, an eighth grade algebra and science teacher at Laurin, has taught in Battle Ground Public Schools since 1983. The last 15 years she has been at Laurin, but prior to that she taught at Pleasant Valley Middle, Maple Grove, and Captain Strong.
Sarah's daughter, Emily Lashua, started teaching English and history to eighth graders full time at Laurin this year after working as a substitute teacher in the district for one year. Emily is one of the Associated Student Body (ASB) advisors at Laurin.
They also arrived at their teaching careers in a similar manner.
Sarah chose teaching as a major while a student at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. She wanted to try her hand at physical therapy and attend a college close to home, but Pacific Lutheran didn't offer it as a major. After investigating her options and observing other teachers, Sarah decided her junior year to major in education. "I was drawn to the independence of older kids and their sense of humor," she said.
After graduating in 2008 from Prairie High School, Emily took different classes in various majors and played basketball at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, where many of her teammates were majoring in education. It didn't take her long to realize, though, that she was also interested in education as a major. Emily tried an education class in which she created a third-grade lesson plan, and soon after changed her major. "That class was one of my favorites," she said.
The uncommon bond between the pair of teachers has also meant that Emily Lashua doesn't have to go far to get advice on classroom management and teaching strategies. When Emily has a question, she can go to the adjacent classroom where her mother teaches. "If I have questions, she's a great resource," Emily said. "I don't have to call anyone. I don't have to worry about whether I've asked an odd question.”
"She’s been very helpful whenever I’ve asked her about a potential idea or strategy to implement in the classroom," Emily said. "With each group of students you have different kids, and you have to figure out what works for them."
The admiration that Emily has for her mother is obvious in that Emily replicates some of her mother's teaching practices in her own classroom. For example, Emily teaches her students a similar note-taking style that her mother taught her when Emily was a Laurin Middle School student herself in her mother's eighth-grade science class.
And the pride that Sarah feels for her daughter's accomplishments is readily noted in how Sarah enthusiastically shares that Emily was a good student as an eighth grader in her science class, and even now is "finding her own way."
But perhaps most noticeable is the enjoyment that this mother-daughter duo is getting from teaching in the classroom right next door to the other. "I was excited," Sarah said about Emily landing a full-time teaching position. "But to end up in the same place, I couldn't have planned it that way. It's just joyful to have her here all day."