Laughman Finds Home at EJCHS
Former Marketing Professional Now Has Dream Job As An Eagle
Bottom lines and budgets weren’t cutting it for Ethan Laughman’s professional happiness. There was more fulfillment in a professional setting than what he was experiencing, and his wife knew it. After a few years of urging her husband to get into education as a teacher, the same profession she was in, Mr. Laughman listened and headed back to school.
Fast forward a few years later, Mr. Laughman found himself inside the hallways of East Jackson Comprehensive High School as a student teacher working alongside educators like Mr. Terry Miller, who showed him passion for students and the teaching profession. Now-a-days, Mr. Laughman and Mr. Miller are co-workers at East Jackson.
“The teaching program I was in, I was here for a whole year. So I got to see the school the whole year, and that really had a big impact on me, seeing the school function both semesters,” Mr. Laughman said. “And now I am getting a lot of support from my department.”
Mr. Laughman is in his first-year of full-time teaching English Language Arts and he said the support from fellow teachers has been tremendous. The weekly co-planning meetings established at EJCHS allow teachers to plan together and share ideas of what is and isn’t working.
“All the co-planning that Dr. Stratemeyer has us doing — I thought it was going to be more cumbersome at first, but it has ended up being really, really good, especially as a first year teacher,” Mr. Laughman said. “I am able to bounce ideas off of everyone on a weekly basis, rather than just sitting in my own classroom doing my own things and not knowing if it is actually working.”
After that year of student teaching at EJCHS, Mr. Laughman said he knew he wanted to be an Eagle full time, saying the culture inside of the school building was something he wanted to be a part of as an educator.
“It is a school that definitely knows what it is and a school that knows where its students are heading,” Mr. Laughman said. “We know some are college bound and that is great. But we also have Empower, where students can go off and learn skills that they would usually have to wait until technical school to learn. So being able to start that in high school is super important. It is nice that the high school can recognize that.”
Being an educator in 2022, Laughman admits things have changed since he graduated high school just eight years ago. The integration of technology into the classroom has changed things for the better. Long gone are the days of sending home a paper document that a parent or guardian may or may not see, or a student may lose in his or her bookbag. Students now have the ability to access their work through online platforms at any time of the day, streamlining communication and school work.
“When I was in high school, if we used laptops it was because we were going to the media center,” Mr. Laughman said. “We didn’t have that one-to-one situation at all. We had cell phones, but we didn’t use them for class.
“I can put something on Canvas and it is accessible all the time, 24-7, whenever they can get to it, rather than handing them a sheet of paper.”
Mr. Laughman jokes that he and his wife have to shut off their school conversations at home. They both love their profession so much they could talk about their students, curriculum and schools all night. The passion he and his wife share for teaching isn’t uncommon. In fact, Mr. Laughman said that is one thing he enjoys about teaching inside the Jackson County School System.
Mr. Laughman encourages those whom are looking for a place inside education to look at the opportunities inside Jackson County. Mr. Laughman said the environment in which educators work is healthy, and the opportunities provided for students on a daily basis is something that excites him for the students’ futures.
“It is nothing short of support and you can tell there is a very deep history here,” Mr. Laughman said. “There is a deep sense of community and community pride.”
When it comes to working with his students, Mr. Laughman says switching careers from the private sector to education allows him to relate to his students in a different way. He says he talks about the importance of education because students may not know when they will need a certain skill in their life.
“I think it did benefit me, working in the private sector before working in education,” Mr. Laughman said. “If you’re a graduating senior and you don’t know what you’re going to do, or you’re in college right now, don’t sweat it. Your career will go in many different directions.
“I talk about it a lot. That question that keeps coming up, ‘Hey Mr. Laughman, why are we learning this?’ I try to give them real world examples of when I have used this. Because what it ends up being is that if you end up spending time, because I teach English, learning how to communicate well, learning how to argue well and get your point across, that is going to help you no matter where you are in life.”