Editor's note: This is part of a monthly series tracking Laura Evans' first year teaching at Summerville Elementary. An article runs on the second Tuesday of each month.

At Summerville Elementaryís recent winter carnival, rookie teacher Laura Evans had already worked long hours with a room full of students, but there she was, with her fellow educators helping guide the kids through science experiments.

ìWe had a good turnout. Parents said it was a lot of fun and well planned,î said Evans. ìI think it was great because it got parents involved with what their kids are doing in school.  Parents are used to checking book bags for homework assignments and reading to their kids. This was different because they had an opportunity to take part in the process of actually doing some of the experiments.î

Evans, a Summerville High School alumna, says she noticed many parents were great at questioning their children about the things they were learning that night.

ìI heard parents asking their kids why they thought an experiment turned out the way it did and what would have happened ifÖI think it showed parents that they can be good teachers too.î

She says she gets tired at times.

ìI think all teachers get tired after awhile. Youíre teaching other peopleís children. You care so much and you worry so much, then you realize there are 20 of them,î Evans says. ìI know plenty of other teachers who are able to go way beyond what I do when it comes to taking on their studentís problems. I havenít been able to do that yet. Maybe that will change if I become a parent some day.î

Although the job is overwhelming, Evans likes the responsibilities that comes with teaching.

ìI really like being in the classroom. I remember when I was student teaching, I would look around the room and think about what I would do the same and what I would do differently,î she says. ìNow that I have my own classroom I realize how much goes in to making it work, but I know I can always change something if it doesnít.î

She says she sometimes compares her life to the lives of her friends who are still in school. ìI have a lot of friends who are in graduate school. What they call ëbusyí is very different from what I now call busy.î

Evans knows the kind of busy that comes with a life in college, because she once enjoyed it at Winthrop University. She says at times sheíd love to go back to studying, having a paper due and maybe take a nap on afternoons when she doesnít have a class. It might have seemed overwhelming at the time, but she says after you start working, time management takes on a whole new meaning.

ìI really donít go out too much after work. It messes up my week,î says Evans. ìItís no big deal. Iíve never really been a night person.î

If sheís had a bad day when a lesson didnít seem to work or she feels like the kids didnít learn what sheíd set out to teach them, she says sheíll go shopping after she leaves school. ìI donít usually buy anything, but I think itís a great stress-reliever. Itís a mindless activity thatís also great therapy.î

She also admits to going to bed as early as 8:30 on Saturday nights.  ìMy friends who call canít believe Iím already in bed. I look at it as a luxury. If I can get papers graded and get everything done, I actually look forward to going to bed early. But Iím usually up early too, and I always feel like I have to get going and get something done.î

Contact Sharon Gnau at 873-9424 ext. 215 or sgnau@journalscene.com.