Professional Page

Home Students Parents Teachers Professional Personal


Ralph Waldo Emerson wants said "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us."  I believe that each person’s personal growth is vital to the community and that each child has something to give.  Every student has the potential to succeed and, as teachers, we need to strive to work with the students and their community to help them achieve their personal success.  Each child in our classroom deserves that opportunity


Professional Goals:

Wishing to follow in the footsteps of one of my heroes, Mr Rachowicz, one of my elementary teachers, I want to teach with patience and understanding, connecting our life skill lessons with lifelong connections and bringing enthusiasm to every activity we do in class.  I would like to teach in the lower elementary grades, helping students continue to grow into a positive and healthy enthusiasm to learn and explore the world around them, and helping them become lifelong students and teachers no matter what career path they take.



Previous Education:

Elementary Schools:

Angling Road and Amberly Elementary
(Also attended Guam’s upper and lower elementary schools for a few months each.)

Junior High School:

West Junior High (now West Middle School)

High School:

Portage Central High School


Western Michigan University


Career Information:

During the past seven years I have worked with beginning silversmiths in the Garezers’ Latvian Summer High School extracurricular program.  For the past four years I have also taught at the Garezers’ summer Middle School program running the introductory Latvian silversmithing program that I designed, and for the last two years I have been working with the Garezers older camp kids, ages 9&10, developing an introductory program that will explore metallurgy from a silversmith’s perspective.  These programs have been a wonderful experience that made me excited about teaching year round.  While earning my elementary education certificates, I have worked with adults with mental illnesses assisting them with working on life skill issues and volunteered to work with elementary students during the school year.


Unique skills and Talents:

Silversmithing and blacksmithing
Working with kids
Staying on task


Volunteer Activities, Hobbies, etc.:

Volunteering in elementary school classrooms
Kalamazoo Latvian Community Center’s Rummage Sale
Garezers summer camp program
Ann Arbor Police Department Civilian Volunteer
Graduate of the Ann Arbor Citizens Police Academy
Washtenaw County’s Neighborhood Watch
Humaine Society
Latvian Cub Scouts
Member and past officer of Kalamazoo branch of Immeriete’s sorority



You may contact me, Laura Smidchens, if you have any questions or concerns.

Friday, November 9, 2007 14:14