The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Ms. Edwards and Ms. Caldwell: English Teaching Is in the DNA


Laura Caldwell and Julia Edwards are mother and daughter who share a joint passion for teaching English. Caldwell has been part of the Poly Prep English staff for eight years, and her daughter, Julia, has taught at Poly for two. Laura Caldwell teaches 7th grade English, “The Writer’s Craft,” a 7th-grade elective, and one Upper School elective, “Poetry and Poetics.” Her daughter, Julia Edwards, teaches 9th grade English and one English Creative Writing class for upperclassmen. Every weekday this mother-daughter duo drives to and from Poly together while they debrief about their similar lives as teachers. This shared experience adds yet another layer to their relationship as mother and daughter. 

Laura Caldwell began teaching at Poly Prep during the end of her own daughter’s high school years. Caldwell has a bachelor’s degree in economics, however; 8 years after working in finance, she decided to go back to school at Sarah Lawrence College in order to get a MFA in creative writing. After running poetry workshops at NYC public schools, she attended Dominican University in California, where she received her teaching credentials. In the fall of 2017, Caldwell began her experience as a Poly Prep English teacher. 

Edwards joined the community as a classroom assistant during the pandemic in 2020. Edwards grew up with a similar passion for English as her mother, leading her to get an MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina. “Literature too has always been a shared interest of my mother and I, and she was one of the people responsible for my interest in art and literature and writing, and I definitely really enjoy being able to share that with students,” explained Edwards. 

Although she is strongly dedicated to writing and English literature, Edwards did not always plan on being a teacher. “She has always been an avid reader and talented writer since she was young, and now she is a successful poet and scholar. However, it wasn’t until she was a classroom assistant at Poly during the pandemic that she learned that she loved being around the students. That is what made her decide to go into teaching, and I was thrilled,” expressed Caldwell.  

Edwards is a published poet, and before she began teaching at Poly, she was a writer and editor for K-12 educational materials. Although this is not the first job she has had, teaching at Poly is the first time Edwards had the opportunity to take a position in the workforce alongside her mother and life mentor. Her cultivated love for reading and writing gave Edwards the necessary foundation to follow in her mother’s footsteps. 

Although they have only been at Poly together for four years, this special bond they share over teaching makes their teaching experiences unique and special. Edwards elaborates on the guidance she receives from her mother on a daily basis, and the admiration she has for her. “It’s definitely really nice… My mom has been a really great role model to me all my life,” she adds. It’s not only the fact that she has the opportunity to work with her mother that makes her job special, but Edwards loves sharing her passion with students. “It surprised me how much I enjoy teaching in a way. I really enjoy the interactive quality of it — it’s everyday something new, so there’s an intellectual component, there’s a creative component, there’s a relationship with the students.” 

Caldwell is grateful for the fact that she gets to have this full circle moment with her daughter as English teachers. The moments that the two share as faculty only strengthen their relationships, whether it is jokes on the car rides to school, or in-depth conversations about their classes and students.  “I think it is incredibly special to work alongside my daughter…I love our conversations about students, literature, and pedagogy. We are making memories together that will last a lifetime. I am so very grateful for this opportunity. Julia is fortunate to be at Poly, and Poly is fortunate to have Julia as a teacher.”  

When they are not at school, Caldwell and Edwards enjoy hiking in Beacon with Lily, Julia Edwards’s sister, and recently, they have been spending a lot of their time preparing for Edwards’s wedding, which will happen this summer. 

Both Caldwell and Edwards have their own special love for English and being able to share that with students. Although this is not what Edwards planned on doing at first, she can now use her skills to teach students how to foster a similar passion. Similarly, her mother expressed her love for teaching students how to express themselves in their writing. “I also enjoy exposing them to great literature and finding ways for it to connect with their lives,”Caldwell expressed. “It opens their eyes to the world, and It gives me so much pleasure to see how much they grow over the year.”

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