Q&A: Ms. Rita Laskey, World Language


Ms. Rita Laskey, World Language, sits at her desk during her lunch. Laskey has taught at the high school for 40 years.

Justin Andrews, Author

Q:  How long have you been teaching?

A: Forty years.


Q: What has changed since you started teaching?

A: The biggest thing would have to be the technology. There was no technology when I started. We used a typewriter to type up tests and had to go back and put in accent marks and other punctuation by hand. The only computer took up 25 percent of a classroom. For grades, we marked dots on little cards and two of our math teachers ran them through the computer to come up with report cards. Classes today are a lot bigger, except for one year when I had 40 students in a Spanish 1 class. Everyone knew everyone. Now I see a name on a pass and have to ask the student who the person is and what he or she teaches. We are pretty isolated in our new building. I see people in my part of the hall and whichever women go to the bathroom between classes with me. We don’t have opportunities to see others and get to know them.

After I graduated from LC, the A wing was added to the building. During my first or second year, the original C wing was added. Later, it was the freshmen center. Now, the only part of my old Lake Central is the fieldhouse.


Q: Why do you love teaching Spanish?

A:  I have used Spanish wherever I have travelled in the world. I want my students to be able to do so also. Using it in Austria did not work that well for me, but in many other places it has. On a small plane in Alaska, there were 18 people from Mexico and my sister and I. I want my students to go out there and use the language.  Knowing Spanish makes a person a better candidate for many jobs. When I was in school, I worked retail and used Spanish all the time with customers. My sister, a nurse, needed to know Spanish in order to help her patients.


Q: What do you still love about teaching?

A: I really like being with my students. They are smart, amusing and they keep me on my toes. I learn something new from them every day. I love it when someone comes to class and says that he or she “hadto translate for people who came into wherever they work. They didn’t think that they could do it, but did. Being with teenagers all day keeps me young. I can’t imagine doing anything else.