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The Suburbanite
  • Jackson's Laughlin strives to make a difference

  • Rocky Laughlin works double duty at Jackson. He is a 3rd grade teacher at Sauder Elementary School and is the head coach of the high school wrestling team. He is this month’s featured teacher from Jackson Local Schools.

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  • Rocky Laughlin first gained an interest in reading during the second grade with the help of his second grade teacher, Mrs. Reed. Laughlin said that school was not his favorite thing when he was young. Having a teacher like Mrs. Reed made all the difference in his life.
    “I was not the strongest reader,  and she encouraged me to read and to enjoy reading,” Laughlin said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t like school, I just had other things on my mind. She spent a lot of time with me, and she is one of the reasons I became a teacher. I want to make a difference in my students’ lives.”
    Laughlin works double duty at Jackson. He is a 3rd grade teacher at Sauder Elementary School and is the head coach of the high school wrestling team. He is this month’s featured teacher from Jackson Local Schools.
    Home: Plain Township
    Teaching position: He has been teaching 3rd grade for eight years, four at Sauder Elementary and four in Louisville. He teaches all subjects and has his class all day.
    Credentials: Laughlin graduated from the University of Mount Union in Alliance. He earned his master’s degree in curriculum and literacy from Ashland University.   
    Family: His wife, Andrea, is a 1st grade teacher at Louisville. They have two boys, Paxton, 3, and Kolby, who is 8 months old.
    Laughlin comes from a family of teachers. His parents and brother all work for Canton Local Schools. His mom is a secretary and his dad and brother are both teachers. Laughlin's younger sister also teaches and is a sixth grade teacher at Jackson Memorial Middle School.
    Mantra he lives by: “My biggest joy is that I love having the opportunity to help and work with kids. It’s a real privilege for me. I want to be a positive influence on their lives.”
    Role model: “My dad is my role model. I really look up to him and he has always been there for me. He’s been my best friend, and I've always respected the way he’s lived his life.”
    Memorable book: “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg
    Music:  Country and classic rock
    Favorite TV Show: “The Big Bang Theory”
    Why he went into teaching: “Going into teaching was due in part to my own experience in elementary school. Plus, both my parents have always worked in schools. For me, I really enjoy working with the kids who, at this age, like learning and want to be in class. It’s a neat thing to go to work and be around such enthusiasm to learn. They don’t worry at this age about everyday stress factors that adults often have in life.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Three things to do in this lifetime:
    1. Spend more time with his family
    2. Go to Hawaii with his family
    3. Travel out West with his family
    A take-your-breath-away moment: “...The first time I walked into my classroom and realized that I was responsible for the kids, for their safety and their learning experience. Parents trust teachers with their most prized possession. It’s something that changes your life because it’s a huge responsibility.”
    A ha-ha moment: “After having my own children and realizing how hard it is to drop your kids off at school.”
    Three words that he would use to describe himself:
    1. Enthusiastic
    2. Optimistic
    3. Caring
    Most creative when: He’s thinking about how to keep his students interested during class time.  
    He really wishes he knew how to: Be “handier at fixing things around the house. My brother is the handy person in the family.”
    Secret talent: Laughlin waterskied professionally until he was 13 years old.  
    Advice to those thinking of becoming a teacher: “My best advice to those thinking of going into teaching is to spend time in a classroom before deciding to teach. Until you go into the classroom with kids and see all of the things the job entails, you won't really know if it is a good fit for you. To be a good teacher, you have to love being in the classroom and working with the kids.”
    General comments: “Coming to Jackson Local Schools has been a great move for me. We have a good principal here at Sauder and the administration is supportive. This is a school district I would love to have my own children go to school in.”
    What others are saying: “Mr. Laughlin has a perfect balance of maintaining a highly structured classroom with a great sense of humor and a fantastic rapport with students,”said Cindy Brown, Sauder Elementary principal.