The Warrior Word sat down with the newest member of the English department, former college teacher Mr. Eric Lafountain, now teaching 10th grade English and Writing & Rhetoric.
Michal Cohen: Where are you from?
Mr. Lafountain: I grew up in Massachusetts, and I’ve lived in Colorado for many years, Washington state, and abroad in Chile.
Mr. L: Is this your first teaching job?
Mr. L: No. I’ve been teaching for almost over a decade. But this is my first time teaching high school students.
MC: What made you want to teach high schoolers?
Mr. L: I was used to working in large colleges, and I would sometimes have over 100 students per semester, and after those 16 weeks I would never see them again, so I felt very disconnected from the students. And a big drive was to find a small private high school, and this fits the bill.
MC: Do you have any interesting hobbies or interests?
Mr. L: I love to mountain bike, I love to swim, I love to road bike, and of course I love to read.
MC: How would you describe yourself in high school?
Mr. L: I was not a great student, and I think part of the reason was because I was so high in energy. That’s why I love to see that a lot of the students here play sports. There is a direct correlation between sports and doing well academically. When you’re working out, when you’re running around, when you’re lifting weights, when you have that release, I think you are much more able to focus on your academics.
MC: Were you a goody-two-shoes or a rebel in high school?
Mr. L: Oh boy. It depended on the adult. There were some adults that I connected with, and who I really learned a lot from, and there were other adults who I struggled with because I always had a tough time with a militant personality. Kind of the blow the whistle personality, do what I say personality. I never responded well with those figures.
MC: What is your favorite thing about the school?
Mr. L: The students. These students are so “on the ball” compared to some of the students I worked with in the past. I also like to see they are future, forward thinking, thinking about college already, the younger ones.
MC: To use one of your phrases from class, “punk-rock” thinking.
Mr. L: Yeah. Punk rock. There are a lot of punk rock students. But I do like that they are so focused, and so committed to their academics. I think teaching, it’s a relationship. You can only do so much as a teacher. You can prep all night, you can come up with the books, but if the students on the other end of the line aren’t meeting you halfway, and are just watching the class like a TV show, it’s not going to work. So it’s so nice to see students who really have that intellectual energy, coming to the table every day.
MC: What advice would you give to high schoolers?
Mr. L: Try to keep things in perspective. It’s really easy, when you’re that age to only think about the next day or week. But to take some time and zoom out. Think about yourself in five years down the road, next year, where do you want to be and really think what is it going to take to get you there. I think when you have those goals in mind, when you have that ability to look into the future, you are able to calm down a bit and you can see more clearly your life trajectory. That’s a tough thing to do as a teenager. I think that if you can get used to it, and do it repeatedly, and have the adult figures reminding you to do it, it can help you a lot.
MC: Last question, do people ever call you “the fountain”?
Mr. L: Oh my gosh, well they do.
MC: Thank G-d, I’m not the only one!
Mr. L: My nickname, people either call me the fountain, or founty.
MC: Do people call you fountain blue?
Mr. L: No.
MC: Not yet.
Mr. L: No, not yet. I don’t have that nickname yet.
MC: Thank you.
By: Michal Cohen (12th Grade)