A teacher learns something new every day


Mona Lazard

Director of education

Sylvan Learning Center, Columbia

Salary --$30,000-$35,000, plus bonus

Age --33

Years on the job --4 1/2 years in the industry

How she started --Lazard, a certified teacher, taught middle school and high school English for two years in Louisiana before she moved to the Maryland-D.C. area in 2001. She started her career at Sylvan as director of education in the McLean, Va., center that same year and was promoted in 2002 to the larger center in Columbia.

Typical day --Lazard works five days a week, though her schedule varies to include a Saturday. Usually, she works from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending on the workload, she works on either Friday or Saturday to finish her week.

Major challenge --Lazard's biggest task is working with the staff, making sure they're trained, scheduled properly and inspired. She also coordinates the daily student schedule and makes sure materials are prepared for student enrollment and progress conferences. "Beyond those two constants, a typical day is hard to define. I've been in this position for over four years, and I learn something new each day."

Tutoring students --Lazard works mostly with her staff and tutors, but she has opportunities to tutor students of all grades at the center. "Working with the kids is the best. I could always go out and teach for a few hours. They keep you on your toes. They're a riot. They're hilarious."

The good --"Helping families. When I was a classroom teacher, I felt as if I was helping just the child, but now, I'm changing the lives of entire families. There's nothing better than the look on a child's face when they feel as if they are successful at something."

The bad --"It's difficult for me when I have to work with parents who do not want to take an active part in their child's education."

Philosophy on the job --"I can't imagine a better opportunity to positively influence future generations."

This column was written by Sun reporter Hanah Cho.


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