Southeast Polk Teacher Focused on Instilling “Life Lessons” in Students, Awarded Golden Apple

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PLEASANT HILL, Iowa -- Learning about DNA and chromosomes is text book in Lauren Buffington's class but it's the lessons that can't be taught from a book that makes this seventh grade class stand out from the rest.

“She really puts up with our behavior and she just is an amazing teacher,” smiles student Ella Scott.

For most of us, we can remember those awkward and trying times of middle school but that's where Buffington thrives.

“I love teaching middle school and I wouldn`t want to do anything different because this is the time they are deciding who they are and who they want to become,” she says.

7th grade student, Grant Vorwerk says he appreciates his teacher’s life lessons, “ She always says this is  practice for life. Life is hard and the real world is way harder than this and we practice what it's going to be like.”

However, of the dozens of students Buffington teaches, her work especially speaks life into one student in particular.

“She’s helped me learn that in life that I need more than just teaching,” says Alexander Verdugo. The 7th grader says he’s a living testimony to Buffington’s “life lessons.”

“It makes me feel a lot more confident in myself and makes me feel like I can do more things than I normally could on my own.”

The students aren’t the only ones learning, Buffington says she’s continually amazed by her students.

“It seems like every day I walk away learning more about the world by working with them and getting to know their personalities, lives and the things that they’ve been through and how strong they can be. It’s really humbling to watch them.”

Buffington is also known for launching an after –school called “Random Acts of Kindness” which allows students to take part in community service projects.

Here's the complete interview with our latest Golden Apple winner...