From the financial world to the classroom
Not every teacher’s path in education looks the same. Some are winding with stops that include different careers. That is the case for beloved English teacher Cari LaRose.
LaRose began her educational career in 1982 teaching 7th and 8th graders in the inner city of Chicago. After teaching for three years, she was offered a position by her friend to work at a brokerage firm. She saw this opportunity as a “door-opener” and thought if she didn’t take the job now, she would never have another chance like this again. It was a major change for the young adult whose undergrad degree was in education.
“I didn’t know much about the stock and bond market before then, so it was a great learning experience. I got to meet a lot of nice and intelligent people. It was interesting to learn about how people dealt with their money and how the markets worked,” LaRose said.
After working at the brokerage firm for five years, it filed for bankruptcy. In search of a new job, LaRose was offered another position at Bankers Trust in Chicago, which would eventually become Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank is a major player in the financial world, only taking on clients with a minimum of $50 million liquid assets. She spent 31 years climbing the ranks there.
She worked her way from assistant treasurer all the way to a director. She had the opportunity to become a managing director, but that would have required her to move to New York City, and that was not of any interest to her. In fact, it was around that time that the ache to return to the classroom began.
Although she enjoyed the financial world, her heart always knew she would give up the board room for a classroom again.
“I knew I always wanted to come back to teaching. I went into the financial world because a door opened, and I decided that I needed to explore. The moment I did it I decided I would come back to teaching one day,” LaRose said.
The return to the classroom started with long-term sub positions at Chesterton and Lake Shore High School. When looking for a permanent position, LaRose wanted to focus her job search to a 30-minute drive, and La Porte was a perfect fit.
“I really enjoy teaching the classes I teach, and I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to come here. I think that before school starts, I always feel this level of excitement throughout the halls and I feel as if the students here really care about each other,” LaRose said.
LaRose, aptly enough, was given Senior Technical English classes after joining the Slicer staff. This class focuses on researching their career interests, working on resumes, and working on interview skills. Students are challenged to complete a job shadow, interview someone in their desired career field, and give a final presentation on what they learned about that field to a panel of community members.
LaRose’s experience in the business world has proven to be beneficial when preparing seniors for the next steps of life.
“I think my experience especially coincides with the seniors because they are going into the real world. It’s all about creating a resume and doing interviews and employability skills. Because I’ve been working in different environments for so many years, I believe I have a lot of experience with that, and I can share my skills with the students,” LaRose said.
Her past career is advantageous to LaRose’s students because of the lessons she brought from the business world and can share with her classes.
“I worked with a lot of really intelligent people, but when they would go into meetings, they wouldn’t really listen to what others had to say. I also found that people were more concerned with what they wanted to say instead of hearing other people’s thoughts. People really struggled with writing business letters and creating presentations,” LaRose said.
It’s these lessons and more that motivate LaRose to ensure that Slicer students are ready to make an impact once leaving the halls of LPHS.
Outside of school, LaRose enjoys spending time with her husband and her two dogs. They enjoy hunting, fishing, and various outdoor activities.
LaRose’s path may have included various stops, but La Porte has greatly benefited from the fact that she chose LPHS as one. Her knowledge and passion are irreplaceable and incredibly valuable for students and colleagues alike.