Laís S: Turning Doubts into Classroom Joys, from Brazil to Seattle

Laís transition to the United States posed challenges and doubts that she was able to overcome during her Seattle Teacher Residency year. Her resiliency brings newfound joy and cultural identity to her students at Lowell Elementary.

Nestled in the vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood of central Seattle lies Lowell Elementary. This is where Laís Seus both completed her residency and is now a multilingual educator, bringing her passion for teaching to life. Laís’ path to teaching began in 2014 when she embarked on a Bachelor’s degree in Education in Brazil. “My journey to teaching has been quite long,” Laís reflects. “I obtained my teaching certification in Brazil, specializing in ESL and Portuguese.”

However, her transition to the United States posed challenges. Transferring her certifications was costly and time intensive. Undeterred, Laís sought a practical solution that would allow her to both obtain certification in the U.S. and gain firsthand experience in American schools.

After extensive research, she found the Seattle Teacher Residency (STR). The STR program’s residency model resonated deeply with Laís, affirming her belief in the power of practical experience. “The mentorship and focus on social equity were invaluable,” she emphasizes. “My mentor’s guidance and the program’s emphasis on social justice push me forward to always have equity top of mind in my teaching philosophy.”

Yet, beyond pedagogy, the STR program fostered personal growth for Laís. “Before joining, I really felt a lot of doubt about myself from English not being my first language and not having had experience being a student in the U.S.” she admits. “But the STR program showed me that’s not something to be ashamed of, but something I have to actually be proud of. Now, I feel so much more confident. My identity is an asset I can share with my students in the classroom.”

“Now, I tell my other teachers to experience joy. Teachers are people, and our students are too, both experiencing joy in so many ways outside of school,” remarks Laís. “If we want our students to keep their joy and not have it taken from them, we need to experience joy ourselves. Our joy in life and in the classroom only makes our teaching stronger.”

Learn more about the Seattle Teacher Residency program and make a gift to support future educators like Laís.