Interview with Laurie Henry – The Innovative Teacher
Laurie Henry is a free-spirited woman with the desire to teach. She started off as a high school Biology teacher and ended up as an entrepreneur. Her latest creation is “The Big Canyon Balloon Project,” which she developed along with another teacher, Terri Monk. They travel to schools with an inflatable canyon and teach students how the Earth’s surface constantly changes. Her unique way of teaching helps young students to see that science can be fun!
Name: Laurie Henry
Occupation: Teacher, Entrepreneur, and co-founder of Trinity Science Solutions
What challenges did you face in your line of work, and have you ever felt like giving up?::
The challenge I have faced while being the science coordinator was feeling free to fully be who I am in my working environment. I am a very creative person. I am also very animated and love living out loud. I felt that I was stuffing my creative side and who I am to fit into the mold I was supposed to be while being science coordinator. That is why Terri and I started our business. It allows us to do what we love and what we do best while being true to ourselves. It has always been a dream of mine to have my own business. Now with Terri as my business partner, I am able to do just that. I have never wanted to give up, just change directions. Changing jobs is not giving up. My dreams are beyond a job. I will not give up on my dreams. I can, however, change routes to get there.
The challenge I currently face is being disciplined to keep moving forward in the new business venture. I have no boss to watch over me now so I am working because I want to develop the best business Terri and I can. We are excited to see how far we can take it. Since this is new to Terri and me, we have to educate ourselves on running a business, marketing, following all of the laws, etc. But it is exhilarating and we’re learning a great deal. The future is so bright we can’t help but shine!
What does your work environment look like?::
I work out of my home or Terri’s home. We each have a home office. Well…..mine is in process. It was my son’s bedroom until he went away to college. This summer I am painting and transforming it into a home office/creative projects rooms. I also make stained glass things and wire and beaded crosses. So I will make a work table for that as well in the room. We’ll present our program in school gyms. So that will be my other work environment.
What do you consider your greatest failure and why?::
My greatest failure would be the past year as Elementary Science Coordinator. I consider it a “great” failure because if it weren’t for that experience I wouldn’t be starting this awesome business with Terri and I would miss my dream career!In this case failure was a great thing!
What do you consider your greatest achievement and why?::
A couple of things come quickly to mind professionally. First I was the teacher of the year for our district in 2005. That was a really wonderful thing. There is nothing more special in a working situation than being awarded by your peers and your community.
The second achievement would be, having a child that has never passed a single state test passing his first with you as his teacher. I love my students. They know I believe in them and love them. Being loved and respected by them is a wonderful gift.
I also believe that taking an idea and turning it into a business is a wonderful achievement. Thanks to Terri, this is happening!
Personally, my greatest achievements are being married for 24 years to a wonderful guy Joe and having two sons, Cory and Cody that have great big hearts. I also consider it a big achievement developing the mindset that dreams can happen and life can be an exciting adventure to journey through.
How have you thrived despite negative comments from others?::
It really depends on the negative comment. If the comment has truth in it then I want to learn from the comment. I would rather have “truth in love” than empty compliments. I look at my journey as one where I want to be the best person I can be and experience the most I can from my relationships and life. Receiving constructive crtisism can help me get there.
If the negative comment is meant to be hurtful, I look at it with the idea that it’s not about me. They said what they did because of struggles they are having within themselves.
Looking at negative comments this way makes it much easier to either learn from them or forgive and move on.
Who (and or what) inspires, motivates you?::
I’ll make a list.
- Jesus Christ: He overcame the most intense difficulties to complete his mission of being the Passover Lamb for mankind. He sets the direction of my life and gives me my purpose.
- A man at Wal-Mart: He was a double amputee walking on two prosthetic legs and a cane while pushing his cart. I pondered all he had to overcome to be able to do that and thought, “Wow, if he can overcome his difficulties to actually walk around the store, I can overcome difficulties and accomplish my goals as well.
- My husband Joe who thinks I’m the best thing since buttered bread. He supports me and all my crazy ideas. He loves me just like I am. He motivates me to go for my dreams.
- My mom and dad: They believed in me and loved me greatly. They taught me their great values and love for family.
- Corey Allan: Corey was my counselor who led me to realize that I can live life fully alive and enjoy the adventure I travel. Life is a journey not a destination. He helped me gain the courage to dream and then follow my dreams both with my personal life and with my professional life. He changed the course of my life motivating me to truly believe in myself and that life can be full so go for it! He has a great blog at www.simplemarriage.net.
- Josephine Merkle: My YA YA sisterhood friend. She is the most encouraging person I know. She has put the knot in my rope many times so I could hang on.
Do you have any favorite quotes, pictures, internet links that you would like to share?::
“Take the first step in Faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“You teach people how to treat you.” – Unknown
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside themselves, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” - Carl Jung
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – The Apostle Paul
www.simplemarriage.net Great blog on marriage fully alive
www.trippingthemuse.com Super blog on writing creatively
www.manmailsite.com/ Great blog on being a manly man (I have learned so much about that mysterious creature!)
What are the most important things you have learned in your life so far?::
- To go for your dreams.
- To live out loud, being who you are and letting others deal with it.
- Failure or criticism is an opportunity to grow.
- When others are hurtful, the problem, more than likely, is about something in them and not you.
- Trust in God because he has a plan for you.
- Love your spouse deeply but be your own person. Be differentiated in your relationship with your spouse and others.
- Live simply.
- Express yourself creativity.
- Give to others whenever you can.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?::
- I love adventure and relationship
- I am a great teacher, kind of like Ms. Frizzle
- I am creative
- I connect with kids
- I am wacky
- I am a total science nerd – Science ROCKS!!
- I struggle with organization
- I struggle with saying NO (but I’m better)
- I have an addictive type of personality. I get hooked on things like computer, books, i-pod. I have to watch it.
What are you goals for the future?::
My goals are to buy some land at Beaver Lake outside of Eureka Springs Arkansas and build a log cabin to live in with my husband. I want to kayak, canoe and boat around the lake, hike the land and spend the days playing pioneer with Joe and being creative. Maybe open a shop in Eureka Springs.
Professionally, I want Terri and I to take Trinity Science Solutions and our Big Canyon Balloon nationally. We want to develop other inflatable science experiences for schools as well as support science education with staff development and other products. We want to be known for excellence in our field.
I want to skydive in a couple of years to honor my 50th birthday. I want to white water raft down the Colorado River, scuba dive at the barrier reef, and see polar bears and beluga whales in the north. I want to experience as much of creation as possible. I love nature.
I want to take my relationship with God as far as possible on this side of eternity and continue it on the other. I also want to take my relationship with my husband to its limits as well. I think we only skim the surface of life with our relationships and with living fully. I want to go deeper.