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Meet Dr. Laura Markert: Middle School Math Teacher

No matter how old you are, everyone remembers a student like Laura Markert. The student who sits in the front row of class, eager to soak up every bit of knowledge she can. The student who loves math. The student who enthusiastically puts forth 100% every day.

Still at the front of the classroom, now Laura Markert is a teacher, and her students call her Dr. Markert. She finished a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University and says, “I love learning. I’ve always wanted to get my doctorate.” As both a teacher and student, she is conscientious, hard-working, and determined. While Dr. Markert could have been successful in a myriad of careers, GAC is fortunate she chose education. A 6th grade math teacher, Dr. Markert has been teaching at GAC for five years.

As you watch Dr. Markert teach, you begin to wonder how you might bottle her energy and sell it. She is highly engaged, focused, lively, communicative. She doesn’t miss a beat. She studies her students carefully, scanning the room for signs of understanding and critical thinking. This is her 11th year of teaching, and she is fueled by the work and the pace. A classic extrovert who gets her energy from people and building relationships, she is kind of stumped when asked what she does for downtime.

As a high school student at Parkview High School, Dr. Markert got a cup of coffee from the teacher’s lounge for her algebra teacher every morning. She has fond memories of this ritual, remembering that it made her feel special. “When teachers are nice to me, it makes me feel special. I try to make my students feel that way,” she says. It is well-known that students are more engaged in the classroom when they have a meaningful relationship with their teachers. “As an undergraduate, I had a professor who would take me and others out with his family to dinner and dessert. We would discuss education and life. We built a strong relationship, and because of that relationship I became even more engaged in research and college,” she said.

Indeed, she has empathy and determination to serve all students. She tailors her instruction to reach even the most mathematically anxious students. Her classroom is dynamic, one where movement is encouraged and writing on the desks and windows is permitted. Her dissertation was “Writing to Learn in Math”, and her passion for creativity within the math classroom can be seen all over her walls.

She molds her instruction so that her students “own” the knowledge. They learn their own way of solving problems, and it’s not just the teacher passing down the step-by-step instructions. “I love math because it’s like a puzzle. There is more than one way to solve the problem. I want the kids to know that I want to hear about their way of tackling a problem. It’s not just about how I do it.”

Dr. Markert was raised in Lilburn, Georgia, and attended Berry College in Rome. She married her husband Dave, a GAC alum, in 2012. Hard work runs in the family, and Dr. Markert said her father in particular has always served as an example of life-long learning. Dr. Markert’s older sister is a Language Arts teacher, and Dr. Markert grew up helping her set up her classrooms and bulletin boards. So Dr. Markert’s career choice feels like home.

Middle School Academic Dean Lauren Hollier especially appreciates Dr. Markert: “Laura epitomizes the term dedication.  She works tirelessly before, during, and after school with her kids. She encourages, motivates, instills confidence, and loves her students. If one way doesn’t work, she tries another, and another. She is one of the most patient teachers I’ve ever met.”

While she has taught in several other school environments, Dr. Markert says, “I love the spiritual aspect of GAC. I love that we have the chance to pray. I like the way the kids love each other. The light really shines through here at GAC.”