Laura Hottinger, a Miami Trace High School teacher, is known for her many roles in the school, but is loved for her winning attitude and positive personality.
Hottinger was born and raised in Fayette County and has lived here for most of that time. She graduated from Miami Trace High School in 1989 and initially went to Kent State University. After a short while she ended up working for Journeys as an area supervisor, where she operated as a new store opener and had the job of finishing plans with construction crews, hiring in staff for the location, training the new staff and stocking the new business with what it needed. After a few years, she then received her teaching license from Wilmington College.
“Teaching was always what I wanted to do, but I got married for the first time when I was in college and had to have insurance, but teaching was always what I wanted to do,” Hottinger said. “When I was little, with my brothers and sisters, we would play schools and I was always the teacher and gave them homework assignments.”
Hottinger teaches a variety of subjects, which is a testament to her work ethic. She currently teaches MITRA, which is a class that helps to design the yearbook and includes 11th and 12th grade students; senior English; journalism, which is for grades nine-12, and rounds out the day teaching drama as well. Despite all of the classes Hottinger teaches, which would keep any person busy grading papers, she also helps with a variety of other activities around the school, including directing the yearly fall play, volunteering to support her son and the rest of the Miami Trace football team, and helping to put together a school newspaper. Of course though, each job has its difficulties.
“Probably all of the paperwork that goes along with stuff from the state, the mandates from the state,” Hottinger said. “The stuff that is required and goes along with the testing and evaluations. Seniors don’t test, but they still need formative assessments. There are different things we have to complete and they require us to do paperwork that goes toward our evaluations. The SLO’s we have to do is a perfect example. When (the students) first come in we give them a test to see where they start. We then take those base scores and compare them to another test they take at the end of the course. But it isn’t really testing for the students, it’s testing for the state in order to evaluate us. It is the red tape from the state that is the most difficult. If you could just teach, it would be fine, but we have two days at the beginning of the year for the tests and two at the end of the year, which is due in April, to measure the growth. It doesn’t go towards the students grade, it’s just to evaluate me.”
Hottinger was quick to respond with her favorite part of the job – the kids. She said that the students begin to feel like her own children, especially since her son, who is graduating this year, has been in high school. Students spend time with him at their home, they all see each other for sporting events regularly and fall plays continue to draw her closer to the children. She even has many students, who are now out of school, that come back every year to see the newest play and inquire about one of their favorite teachers. That goes hand-in-hand with what she finds to be the most rewarding part of her job, when those students come back to thank her. Whether it be through a letter, email or text, seeing the success of her former students means a lot to her.
“I would like to see less testing at the state level because I feel we as teachers in our district are educators and educated educators,” Hottinger said. “I feel that we know really, especially for our community, what is best for our students and where the focus needs to be for their education. That is going to be different than a student from Columbus Public Schools, because of the community we are from. Local decisions for our students that are more unique to our community is what we need.”
Hottinger is married to Washington Court House Police Department Chief Brian Hottinger and together they have one son, but also share two step-children who have given the couple grandchildren. The family resides in Fayette County to stay close to their work and are anxiously awaiting graduation for their son.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy