LEARNING THE ROPES: 120 new teachers now in the classrooms of Ouachita Parish schools

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OUACHITA PARISH, La. — For some, the first day of school doesn’t end after the final graduation.

“I always had teachers as a child that inspired me to teach others and to help children as much as I can,” said Francie Aulds, a 4th-grade teacher at Claiborne Elementary.

But 120 teachers are planning for their very first ‘first day’ in Ouachita Parish schools.

Learning the ropes can bring mixed emotions.

“I’m a little nervous about the school year. I mean I’m new here. Getting the kids to understand that we’re all in this to make them better, and them seeing me as a person that wants to help them,” said Ouachita Parish High School Football Coach Lamont Finley.

With nerves can come excitement.

Aulds said, “I know there will be things that go differently than I have planned, but I am really excited to meet them and form a community in my classroom.”

New teachers can’t help but have high hopes for the school year, even when the goal is to beat your rival.

“Students work to be successful at everything they did and what would also put a cherry on top would be beating Neville and West Monroe,” said Coach Finley.

Reflecting on her elementary days, Aulds hopes she can make her students feel the same way she did.

She said, “They were there to help me. They weren’t there to make me get a bad grade or make me feel like I failed at something.”

Science, Social Studies, Reading, and even football are all important but making a kid feel loved and confident is a deep task.

“I want them to feel welcomed and that they are good enough to be there and that every single one of them is loved,” said Aulds.

It’s known that the year won’t be perfect but it’s all about learning even when you’re not the student.

Coach Finley said, “You have to prepare yourself for the unexpected, that will be the major thing.”

When the bell rings for the first time this school year, these new teachers will be one step closer to learning the ropes.

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