Episode 5: How to Create a Teaching Career That You Love

Kathy Lassalle: How to Create a Teaching Career That You Love

Zach Long interviews Kathy Lassalle on episode 5 of the More Than Teachers Movement podcast. Through their conversation, we hear about the importance of life-long learning, growing over time in your teaching career, and building meaningful relationships with your co-workers. Focusing on these three areas will help teachers to create a career that they love. 


Who Is Kathy Lassalle?

Ever since Kathy Lassalle was a little girl growing up in Puerto Rico, she has wanted to be a teacher. She was that child who made the others play school and even taught her younger sister how to read and write. After completing pre-med and pre-law undergrad programs, Kathy discovered special education. New York City was offering an incentive program to pay for a master’s degree in special education while you taught in an NYC  classroom. Kathy jumped at the opportunity to teach special education students and use her classroom as a laboratory. She’s been teaching for over 22 years and considers it the best decision she ever made.


The Importance of Life-Long Learning

Education is obviously extremely important to Kathy Lassalle– not just for others but for herself as well. Pre-med and pre-law are rigorous courses of study for an undergrad student, and Kathy pursued them both. She followed that achievement up by earning a master’s degree while she was teaching in a special education classroom. Kathy’s desire to learn continues today as she is finishing up her doctoral thesis. This pursuit of lifelong learning has led to Kathy’s growth as a person and as a teacher. It’s helped her to be the best teacher she can be and create a career that she loves.


Growing Over Time In Your Teaching Career

Another way that Kathy has cultivated a career that she loves is by being willing to evolve. She understands that, as times change, so must our techniques and strategies. The students we teach today are different from students twenty years ago. With the accessibility of the internet and social media, student mindsets and attention spans have changed. Unfortunately, the education system hasn’t caught up with these changes, and teachers often have to take it upon themselves to figure out ways to reach their students. Kathy recognizes that educators need to be innovative and that maintaining the status quo will only lead to frustration and burnout.  


Co-Worker Relationships Are Key

Kathy has learned over and over how powerful relationships with your co-workers can be. Through working on her doctoral thesis and interacting with teachers as a part of that process, Kathy has found that teachers who are isolated feel overwhelmed and discouraged. At the same time, she saw that teachers who build connections with their peers and administrators have a more positive perspective and are able to more constructively face challenges. 

When Kathy ran an educational center in Puerto Rico, she also saw the power of co-worker relationships. She worked really hard to get to know the teachers through dinners, drinks, and conversations. So, when Kathy had a health crisis and had to leave for an extended amount of time, those teachers were there to pick up the slack. They were happy to help out because of the positive relationships that had been built. 

When Kathy moved to Florida and found herself in a new school, she again leaned on the power of relationships. She bonded with her new co-workers through birthday celebrations and coffee which led to sharing, collaboration, and growth. Kathy has seen firsthand that building meaningful relationships with your co-workers is a big part of of creating a teaching career that you love.

Did you find this post helpful and want to read more? Subscribe to the More Than Teachers Movement and (re)discover all of the ways that you are more than a teacher. We will connect you with resources to help you reclaim your work-life balance.

Kathy Lassalle

Kathy Lassalle

My name is Kathy Lassalle. I was born in NYC and the eldest of 3 daughters and married for 28 years and a mother of an eighteen year old. I have a BA in Urban Legal Studies, where I was able to intern in the Brooklyn Supreme Court as well as a Senior Paralegal in a NYC law firm. Also, I acquired a certification in Mediation and Conflict Resolution, and was part of the IMCR institute in Harlem, New York. I was offered the opportunity to acquire a Masters Degree in Special Education which gave me the chance to work with learning disabled teenagers as well as youth with behavioral disorders. Also while residing in NYC, I was given the chance to work with adult immigrants that spoke no English and be able to help them communicate and start working on acquiring their citizenship.
I moved to Puerto Rico and that opened doors to become the founder of an Alternative School (The Magic Key Homeschooling) and worked with students from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade. Worked also as an Educational Coach and Mentor to new teachers as well as being certified as a PBIS coach to schools that are part of the Board of Education in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Recently, I moved to Florida and i currently work with Fourth graders that are English Language Learners and I am also in the dissertation stage of a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.