If asked the question, “would you ever be comfortable sharing how hot your substitute is with your teacher” many students would answer with a simple “no, that’s so weird”. But, not history teacher Laine Winokur’s students, specifically her A block class this year. An all-girls class had a substitute one day and after finding out he was a young, attractive gent, they reached out to their teacher to gossip. This is not an environment that all teachers provide, but Winokur’s safe and comfortable classroom has allowed for students to grow and enjoy moments like these.
Winokur, however, will not get to form these memorable moments with WA students next year, because she is headed back to her Alma Mater, Wayland High School. There she will teach US History and World History II and
Although there will be a little nostalgia going back to a school she graduated from, because it is not the same building, it will feel a little different. However, many of the teachers at WHS were also working there when Winokur attended, so the faces will not be new for her.
Winokur is headed back to Wayland because she had a great high school experience and feels that it is an environment where she can make a real impact. She also likes the environment of a smaller school as well, where you can get to know all of your students better.
Originally, Winokur chose WA because of how comfortable she was from the beginning. During the interview process, it never felt like an interrogation, but more so a conversation. Because of this, she was able to feel productive in the environment.
When looking back on her experience at WA, she describes it as being a period of growth, timeliness, and community, and she appreciates how eight years ago Westford Public Schools was willing to take a risk on a young teacher.
Winokur credits her past teachers for helping her to find her passion for teaching.
“I had teachers in high school that I loved. And basically over the last couple years I was in high school, and my first couple of years in college, I realized that what I liked the most was spending time with people. That’s really what teaching is like: getting to spend time with people. So I did a couple of internships and decided I really loved working especially with teenagers,” Winokur said.
Over the past eight years, Winokur has become a fan favorite among students. Many students cite her as the reason they enjoy history.
“Ms. Winokur cares immensely about her students. She always starts class by checking in with us and making sure everything is okay. I know I can go to her with any school or personal issue and she will offer support and guidance. I’m so glad I got to be her student.” junior Riley Tsechrintzis said.
She is not only beloved by her students, but also, by her peers who know her to be a dedicated and passionate teacher.
“Working with Ms. Winokur has been a joy. She has such a passion for history but also has a passion for her students which is incredibly admirable. She is truly a special teacher who deeply cares for every student, not just in her classroom, but in the entire school,” history teacher Scott Cruikshank said.
Winokur always goes the extra mile to make sure she makes time for each student, not only from an academic but also a personal standpoint. Usually, when time allows, she will go around the classroom asking students what their plans are for the weekend, and what they are excited about. She always remembers the responses and cares about the well-being of her students outside of school.
When asked what she wants her past students to know, she answered honestly and supportively.
“I want to leave them with the knowledge that they can make a difference, and that their voices are worthy of being heard. Everyone’s thoughts and opinions matter, especially my shy students. I love hearing from them because they have great opinions and I want to hear more from them,” Winokur said.
She will be missed at WA greatly for years to come, according to her friend, Cruikshank.
“My last message to Ms. Winokur is ‘thank you’. Thank you for everything you have done for this school and your students. Thank you for everything you have given this department. But most importantly, thank you for being a wonderful friend for all these years. You will be truly missed,” Cruikshank said.