Thomas Jefferson

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Bouncing Back to TJ

Posted 12/14/2016 by Cecelia Allen

Grant Laman brings creativity and enthusiasm for learning to his CCT classes. photo by Mia Grijalva

Grant Laman brings tradition, Spartan pride, and coaching to the TJ community.

Teacher, alumnus, and coach Grant Laman has been teaching at TJ for almost sixteen years. Laman has been at TJ his entire teaching career, after discovering his love for education and being around kids.

After graduating from TJ, Laman never expected to come to back. “I never thought while I was going to school here that I would end up teaching and coaching here,” he explained. After being offered a coaching position for the boys basketball team, he has been here ever since. Laman originally coached  C-Team basketball at Lakewood High School, but after reconnecting with his high school basketball coach and coming to TJ to teach, he decided to stay. Laman enjoys everything about TJ, but his favorite thing is the aspect of diversity. “I love how diverse we are. My life experiences have taught me that you need different cultures, different people around,” said Laman. “I can now compare my life to other people who grew up differently and I feel like I had an advantage… TJ is how it was when I went here, very mixed and diverse, and that’s what I love about our school.”

Laman teaches three different Center for Communication Technology (CCT) classes: Introduction to CCT for the incoming freshmen, Radio and TV Broadcasting for juniors and seniors, and Senior Video Intern for seniors. Although Laman enjoys teaching all of his classes, he enjoys teaching his senior video intern class most, “Senior Video Intern gives us a chance to make some really cool videos that we get to spend a lot time on,” explained Laman. Radio and TV Broadcasting, more well known as the daily Spartan Edition show, is another class Laman has been teaching for a long time. The Spartan Edition has been aired for about twenty years, and Laman has been running it for the past seven. Since Laman has taken on the Spartan Edition, it has grown in many ways. The class has grown in numbers, so much so that it has been changed to two separate periods instead of one double-period. Junior Maia Freedberg commented, “It’s the class I look forward to the most, I absolutely love being in class, learning new things about computers, cameras, and film, as well as interacting with a variety of people and tools.”

Before teaching, Laman worked at Fox Television where he was involved in the media. “I was at Fox Television and coaching at the same time,” said Laman. “When my passion for being around kids, teaching, and coaching came through, that’s when I got my sub license, so I could coach and teach and not have to work a regular job.”

Laman enjoys teaching in the CCT program because of the hands on activities the students get to do. “I like the project-based learning and the hands on approach, so we can have all these lessons, but each student gets to do them somewhat at their own pace and put their own creativity onto them,” said Laman, “To me, that’s a lot better than just flipping through a text book; it’s a little more open-ended.” The program allows students to show their creativity. “Mr. Laman really supports creativity, which I like a lot,” said senior Caroline Cech. “He encourages students to create videos and do projects about their own interests, so every student comes up with something different. I enjoy that he gives us a lot of freedom with our work but still gives us helpful feedback.”

Laman has been coaching ever since he came to TJ. “Basketball is my way to give back,” said Laman. “It’s always been a huge part of my life and I think team sports teaches life skills that young people need, with all kinds of things. Everything in basketball to me is like a metaphor to life.” Laman enjoys the aspect of connecting with the players as well. “I enjoy hearing from some of my players, two or three years after they leave TJ, and they get to fill me in on how things are going, or ask me if I’d be a reference on a job application,” commented Laman.

Outside of TJ, Laman enjoys mountain biking and spending time with his family. He enjoys mountain biking when he has free time over the summer, and coaching in the winter when he can’t be biking. He also enjoys walking his dogs and making or editing movies. Laman enjoys giving back to his community and encouraging his students to use their creativity and best abilities not only in the classroom, but in the world around them.

Ever since joining the TJ community, Laman has been an asset to the school. Teachers, students, and staff appreciate his hard work and dedication to the school on a daily basis. He is greatly appreciated and will be considered a part of the TJ community forever.