Astronaut. Doctor. Professional football player.

Those are common answers to the popular question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But Lacy Hay had a different answer. She wanted to be someone that impacts the minds of young people. She wanted to be a teacher.

“(Teaching) is what I was made to do,” Hay said. “That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be is a teacher. I was teaching my little brother when I was 6 six years old and he was 1. I think that’s something God put in me— to impact kids. The more I do it, the more I love it.”

The passion to teach, and the lifelong goal to become a teacher was due, in large part, to the long line of teachers who Hay credits to be the biggest influence in her career.

“I had my third grade teacher — Mrs. Brown — and I still talk to her, and she made everything fun. I mean, everything we did was fun and were still learning, we just didn’t know it,” Hay said. “It was mainly teachers and coaches that I had that pushed me to step out of my box.”

Hay, starting her 16th year in teaching, is a seventh grade English and reading teacher at Central Heights Middle School and has taught on the campus for three years.

All teachers have different teaching styles. Hay’s includes using group work in most activities, and she often tries to add a fun twists to lessons.

If you were to walk into her classroom, you may see her sitting on a desk, singing a song or standing on a chair. All of this, Hay said, is to make the learning experience memorable for her students.

There’s one thing that she wants her students to have learned before leaving her class and move on to the next grade.

“I want them to feel confident, that’s one of the big things we work in my class is to feel confident in their reading and writing,” Hay said. “And just be able to express themselves, especially in written form, because I feel like that’s kind of a dying art. I just want them to feel confident and have something to say.”

Seeing former teachers out in public can be an exciting time for some students and likewise for some teachers. For Hay, seeing former students is one of her favorite parts of her job.

“I was at my daughter’s dentist appointment the other day, and one of my girl’s that I used to teach was working there or when I go to restaurants and they’re a waiter and they remember you … it just gives me goosebumps just seeing them out and about,” Hay said.

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