By Lamar Caldwell
While teaching here for just six years, Mrs. Lanzone has already made a big impact at East. Mrs. Lanzone, an English teacher, teaches English 12, English 9, and AP Language and Composition, and she co-advises the school newspaper and advises the Gender Sexuality Alliance club, or GSA.
She’s always had a strong liking for English which was her favorite subject in school when she was younger. In a recent interview she reflected on how she used to write for a magazine in college at UB and how she majored in Psychology. She talked about how her magazine editor would work with her on writing assignments and that’s what made her want to teach other people to write. She enjoyed writing so much that she would skip homework to write for her magazine or she would read books.
Mrrs. Lanzone came a long way before teaching full time at school. She was working three jobs as a bartender, substitute teacher, and a waitress. She also says she did her undergraduate work at UB and her graduate work at Buff State. I asked her about her experience in college and she said, “My college experience was amazing, the best time of my life. I loved the English program at UB. I played rugby, did chorus, wrote for magazines, and I got to be active and had wonderful professors.”
Mrrs. Lanzone’s teaching career started off as a substitute teacher at Sweet Home high school. She subbed for that school in 2008 then was hired as a full time teacher at Hamburg. She said, “I liked that Hamburg had a small town vibe. Everyone knew each other.” She was living in Williamsville at the time and would be driving 40 minutes every day to go teach at Hamburg. One day there was an opportunity for her to work at East and she got it. When asked what does she like the most about teaching at East she said, “Williamsville is amazing and talented. I like teaching where I live. It’s the most amazing school I’ve taught at and I like that it has a lot of freedom.”
Mrs. Lanzone also talks about what she enjoys the most about teaching and she also talks about the challenges of teaching. “My favorite thing, hands down is working with teens. It’s busy but fun, there’s never a dull moment. You get to be social and talk with people all day.” A challenge she says she has of being a teacher is finding time to grade all of her work. She is an English teacher so it should be challenging to grade tons of writing assignments. She said, “My biggest challenge is finding time to grade all that writing. It’s hard when you have kids, family and a life.” I also asked how the pandemic affects her teaching. She said, “Last year was tough, we couldn’t Zoom. I missed the energy of the kids in the room. There was also a lot of grading.” Last year was pretty challenging because of how the pandemic came from out of nowhere and everybody had to adjust. She reflects on how it went this year. “This year has been easier. It feels a little bit more normal. I can’t wait to go back to a full classroom though, I miss the presence of all the students in a classroom.”
Mrs. Lanzone grew up in Tonawanda and went to school there. She said that “Williamsville has a better school district and there’s not many opportunities in Tonawanda.” Her favorite subject as a kid was English. “My favorite subject was definitely English. I was also a big Science Fan.” I went into psychology because I was interested in social science.” During her free time she said, “I love to spend time with my family, read, hike, and unwind with Marvel shows on Disney Plus.”
She has three kids, two daughters and one son. I asked her what was the difference between when she grew up and now when her kids are growing up. She said, “I’m raising my kids the same way my parents raised me. Question everything, value creativity and be a good person.” We also talked about her favorite movies and shows. “I love Wandavision, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” She also said her family’s favorite movies are Avengers movies. Her favorite Avengers movie all-time is Avengers: Endgame. One of her personal favorite movies is Jurassic Park, she said that she grew up loving dinosaurs.
This was a good interview with Mrs. Lanzone and I got to know about her. She’s a really helpful and good teacher. Hopefully next year everything can get back to normal in school so she and everyone can enjoy a full classroom.