As everyone positioned themselves on the floor for the meditation portion of a local barre class, the instructor shared a quote from John Assaraf.
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there,” she said, quoting the bestselling author, who initially gained notoriety as a mindset and success coach.
That particular quote not only worked with everyone’s breathing, but it stood out to Lauren Lane. In fact, it stuck with Lane, and she’s applied it to her life and career as an instructional coach and former science teacher at Central Magnet School.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is life changing,’” Lane recalled. “I never thought about it that way before.”
She took it one step furthering, adding, “Every day you have to aim to get better and so what are you going to do to make it better today than it was yesterday?”
For the second time in the past few years, Lane is one of four state finalists for the 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
It is the highest recognition for teachers of science and mathematics.
She was previously a 2018 finalist.
The honor requires a rather time-consuming application process that includes an unedited recording of an entire class period and a number of written essays detailing her teaching style and examples of its success.
Bragging is not something that comes naturally to Lane, whose focus is solely on doing what’s best for her students.
“It’s just part of what I do,” said Lane, who taught sixth grade science for 13 years, “so it’s hard to sort of put yourself in the spotlight like that.”
With a little encouragement from her principal, Dr. John Ash, and a little self-reminder to go ahead to step outside of her comfort zone, Lane reapplied.
Lane was able to use the same recorded lesson as she did the first time she applied.
For the essay portion, Lane referred to the feedback she had previously received.
“They kind of break it down for you,” said Lane, who was told national applicants have a greater chance for success the second time around.
She added, “I really took the feedback and sat down with it and really thought and was very intentional about what they were looking for and how I was going to explain myself based on the feedback they gave me.”
Since last applying, Lane has transitioned from being a classroom teacher to her current role as an instructional coach. In keeping with the Assaraf quote about comfort zones, this too was a step away, along with applying to be a member of the textbook committee.
“It pushed me to do little things that sort of made me grow and made me more than just a teacher for my students,” Lane said.
As she awaits word regarding the Presidential Award, she admitted, “I hope I get to the next level this time, but if I don’t, I know I will have done my best to give it a second shot and that’s OK. … They’re all good educators that have been chosen, so whoever moves on to the national level I know will deserve it.”