Payton Lane is a first year teacher at Bramlett Elementary School. Earlier this month, she welcomed her first group of students to her kindergarten classroom.
When she’s not in the classroom, the Ole Miss graduate can usually be found leading a Pure Barre class on the Square. Lane said her first month as a teacher has been really wonderful and that she’s looking forward to the rest of her time with the Oxford School District.
Oxford Citizen reporter Chaning Green recently sat down with Lane to discuss her job and how she got there.
Chaning Green: Are you from Oxford?
Payton Lane: No, but I went to Ole Miss. I grew up in a suburb of Memphis. I moved here in 2014 to start my freshman year at Ole Miss and have been here for four years now. I graduated in May and got hired with the Oxford School District over the summer.
Green: Did you want to stay in Oxford?
Lane: Yes, that was a goal of mine. I knew I wanted to stay here, so I made it a priority to try and get a job close by. Obviously, my first choice was with the OSD, so tried my best and worked really hard to do that. It was a goal I had, so I started working on that pretty early.
I student taught first grade at Oxford Elementary with Tracy Rogers. Loved it. I fell in love with the school and the kids and just knew I wanted to be here and definitely stay in the district.
I knew I wanted to stay in Oxford even before that. It’s a hard place to leave and an easy place to fall in love with. My favorite part of Oxford is the community. There’s always something going on and we’re very philanthropic in Oxford. The town just has a lot of great qualities and I just fell in love with it. The people here are great.
Green: Did you go into your freshman year knowing you wanted to teach?
Lane: I did not. I started out majoring in integrated marketing communications. The summer after my freshman year, I started working at a YMCA summer camp. I was a counselor there. They would come around 8 in the morning and stay till 3. I loved it. I loved going to work and didn’t dread it every morning. It was a really fun summer, and I knew I loved it and I knew I wanted to keep coming to work for this every day. For some of these kids, it was the best part of their day. I loved being part of that. So, I decided I could be an education major and do this every day.
My sophomore year, I came back and switched majors and began pursuing elementary education.
Green: How did you like your time at Ole Miss?
Lane: Oh it was amazing. It was the fastest, greatest four years of my life. I would do anything to do it over again and wouldn’t do anything different. It’s awesome too because I’ve reached out to my professors for advice about what I’m doing now in the classroom. It’s amazing, being able to stay connected even after you graduate. They’re always willing to help, and that’s something awesome about Ole Miss in general, but specifically the School of Ed. They know how the school system works and have been great about giving me tips about what to tyr in my own classroom. It’s been really awesome.
Green: Did you have a particular grade in mind that you wanted to teach?
Lane: I didn’t have a certain grade in mind in the sense that I was open to anything, but I knew if I could choose, it would have been anything third grade and below. I say that for many reasons, primarily because at that age, they’re still so sweet. They still love their teachers and they get so excited when they learn something new. I’m sure that happens in older grades too, but right here, we’re really laying the foundation for everything.
It all starts in kindergarten. A lot of people don’t consider it as important as some of the other grades, but it really is. We’re laying the building blocks for the rest of their education. Kindergarten is where these kids are finding out what their strengths are, their weaknesses, what they like and dislike. It’s just so great to be able to come here every day and see them get so excited about writing the letter A correctly. It’s the little things that gets these kids so excited.
Green: How has your year gone so far?
Lane: It’s been amazing. The teachers here have been more than helpful. If I need anything, I know there’s always someone here I can talk to or ask. Everyone is like a big family at Bramlett, so it’s really awesome to be a part of it. I just feel really lucky to be here. I’m really thankful.
Green: What do you love about your job? Why do you get excited to come here every day?
Lane: Oh, that’s a hard question. There are some days when I leave here thinking “Wow, what a long day” but then I show up the next morning and one of my students will run in, scream my name and hug me. It’s like they hadn’t seen me for weeks. They just get so excited. I had a little girl just today get so pumped because she remembered to bring me her green folder and put it in the basket. They get so excited over the little things, and I think seeing them get so proud of themselves really does it for me. I’ve had some kids tell me that they love school and love being here and I love that they’re happy to be here. I love being part of what gets them excited to be here every day.