Rhode Island’s perspective and possibility widening boarding and day school, grades 6-12 and postgraduate.

Just Five Questions: Laurie Schirber

The first in our just five questions series is math teacher, Laurie Schirber.  In addition to her work with our Algebra I and Algebra II students, she is equally well-known for her gentle nature, mind-scratching puzzles, and delicious cookies!  Learn more about Mrs. Schirber below!

Q: What do you love most about St. Andrew’s?

I love so much about St. Andrew’s that it’s hard to pick just one thing. But one thing that I think is absolutely amazing about the school is that all of the teachers love teaching! Honestly, I have never taught in a school before where I could say this. The teachers here are so passionate and they love what they do!

Q: Have you always been interested in mathematics? When and how did the interest develop?

As a kid, math always came easily to me, but I was originally drawn to working with younger children. In fact, while working on my undergraduate degree at Tufts University, I completed my student teaching with a K/1st grade class. After graduating, I really wanted to return to Africa (where I had spent my middle school years). I joined the Peace Corps, and was sent to a small, poor, and isolated village in Liberia, West Africa. As a volunteer teacher, I arrived to teach in the elementary school. My village, however, begged me to teach 6th-9th grade math and science, as they didn’t have a teacher (including the principal) with higher than an elementary school education and...I loved it! I seem to love all the ages that I’ve taught. After my two-year service, I returned to the US and earned a degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Columbia University to give myself more flexibility. I then went on to teach a variety of grades from 4th-11th over the next many years.

Q: I’m sure your students learn a great deal from you. What do you learn from them?

One thing I learned from my students is to smile! I have a poster in my room that says, “Smile! Attitude is contagious!” And I think that’s true! Who wants to enter a room with a grumpy teacher?

Q: What one word would you use to describe yourself?

One word to describe myself? I would say quiet. Most of the things I love to do are quiet: reading, crossword puzzles, walking the dog, swimming, going out to dinner, and card and board games…(haha! Don’t I sound like fun?!).

Q: What might people be surprised to know about you?

One thing people might be surprised to know about me is that I spent my middle school years in the 70s at the International School of Kenya. My dad worked for the USAID (Agency for International Development) in Nairobi. Those years of my life were so powerful and vivid and living in Africa was life-changing for me. I love Africa and have so many amazing memories from that time.
Rhode Island’s perspective and possibility widening boarding and day school, grades 6-12 and postgraduate