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Ms. Lanner-Cusin’s Second Time Around at College Prep

On Tuesday, September 20th at 10:20, I sat down in the private room of the History offices to interview Ms. Lanner-Cusin. Ms. Lanner-Cusin may be a new teacher, but she has sat in very that office before as a student.

Why did she choose to come back to College Prep? Well, for the same reason many of us decided to come here: because of the atmosphere. Ms. Lanner-Cusin said the environment of our school is different than that of the other schools where she has taught; College Prep places more emphasis on creativity and curiosity. Everyone here is deeply interested in something; whether it be technology, literature, or cooking.  Also, at other schools, the teacher-student relationship was different; our teachers respect us and we respect our teachers. Ms. Lanner-Cusin feels this way because of Common Classroom, where students as well teachers are allowed to be classroom leaders, and at Assembly where we listen to both students and teachers speak.

Ms. Lanner-Cusin has experienced everything at CPS. She has gone from being a new student in her freshman year, to being a new teacher. To my great surprise, she said that more things have stayed the same here than have changed — we still dress up for sports games and sit for assemblies, and the general feeling of the school is the same.  In this case, she said the same is good.  The only major difference that she finds herself puzzling over is the world of technology. How has technology affected teens? Gossip has always existed, but now we have the ability to gossip instantly over text or social media.

She had always loved history in high school, but when she was 25, she was working in admissions at a school in San Francisco. She had coached and guest-lectured, but had never taught before. The school decided to give her a shot, and she started teaching.  Ms. Lanner-Cusin loves history because it is a “world of information I am interested in dealing with.” Her favorite part of being a teacher is engaging in thought-provoking conversations and seeing students coming up with new ideas and piecing together all the information they’ve learned. She loves learning about what excites her students and how each individual sees the world.

Outside of school, her passions are cooking, being outside and hiking, and doing crosswords. She is also the first of us to admit that she loves TV; in fact, she thinks it is the most dynamic form of art created in the last ten years.

Ms. Lanner-Cusin has travelled to Senegal three times. She believes the most life-changing trip she had there was her first, when she was 24. While there, she worked with a school for three weeks and witnessed a type of living she had never seen before. She stayed with a family who spoke no French, only Wolof. One morning, she tried to tell them that she was going on a run, but they didn’t understand her — they thought she was running away, so they sent people to search for her. When they found her, her family was very upset, even though she hadn’t been hiding from her pursuers. Finally, she found a translator to explain to them what had happened. From this experience she learned one very important thing: even if we are in very socially awkward situations, no real harm will come to us, and we will all be okay.

Ms. Lanner-Cusin has been through it all, and from her experiences, she shared with me some very wise words: “Be patient with yourself. Just because you can do something does not mean you should. It is a marathon, not a sprint.”

I am in Ms. Lanner-Cusin’s class, and I can say that not only is she an incredibly nice person, she is a fabulous teacher.

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