Interview with Sarah Landro

Sarah Landro

Sarah Landro taught preschool for 37 years. Twenty-seven of those years at Zion United Methodist Church. She retired from there but certainly has not slowed down in retirement. She has been motivating and inspiring children and adults for a long time.

SHB: You were in childhood education for many years. How did you get involved in that area of teaching?

SL: I got into a government program called a CDA. Child Development Associate. I graduated from STLCC – Meramec. Then got into the CDA program at Forest Park College. It broadened my horizons for the preschool aspect. While teaching preschool, I met many wonderful families and learned a lot about family dynamics. Initially, we went to the child’s home and visited them and their family before the kids went to school.

Then I worked part-time at the Mustard Seed in Imperial after I retired. You don’t realize how much children remember you. One day a young lady came up to me and asked if I was Mrs. Landro. She had children at Mustard Seed, but she had been a student of mine at Zion, and she recognized me after all those years.

SHB: It sounds like you’ve made an impression on children without even realizing it.

SL: I got on an elevator at St. Anthony’s hospital one evening, and this young man in his 20’s said, Hi Mrs. Landro, I said Hi, Danny. He had been in my 3rd-grade class. You remember the really nice ones.

SHB: What is the best part about teaching small kids?

SL: I loved working with small children. It was very rewarding, especially those light bulb moments when you work and work on something, and then one day, their eyes light up, and I could see they got it. And then it was amazing how much they grew when they got that one thing. To be a part of that process is wonderful.

SHB: What is your personal philosophy?

SL: Do no harm. Try to help people if you can, and if you cannot, try and find somebody who can. Be more attuned to other people’s feelings.

SHB: Do you have any hobbies?

SL: I go to the Y, trying to keep your body in some kind of shape. I like to work on my Kindle. I like to play word games because I hear that’s good for the brain.

SHB: Why help others?

SL: Why not? If you are able to, why not? Maybe it’s karma; what you do now might help you later. And you learn a lot of life skills by helping others. Things you hadn’t thought of or faced if you help somebody else, you can work things out better for yourself.

If you see somebody that’s down and you smile at them, they might reciprocate, making their day a little better.

SHB: What is your personal goal in the future?

SL: I want to be able to continue to be of service. Let me be able to help somebody like a student or somebody. I’m always afraid I might let an opportunity pass me by without recognizing something.

SHB: Who inspires you?

SL: My mother. Who has been dead for a long time. She was left a widow at 40, with three boys and 7 months pregnant with me. She never remarried and raised the four of us by herself. She was a dress maker. She was a marvel. Our home was as neat as a pin. She gave us a wonderful work ethic. And I have inspired that in my children. My kids are always busy doing things and helping other people. She would do whatever she could for other people and work so hard. She is my inspiration to do things. We all went to college.

SHB: How long have you been inspiring others?

SL: The only indication I have of being inspirational is when these students come up and recognize me or when a mother comes up to me and says my daughter became a teacher because of you. My granddaughter Jillian when she was at Visitation academy, had an opportunity to choose their favorite teacher they ever had, and she picked me. So even early on in her education, I made a difference to her. I don’t feel like I’m an inspirational person. It’s nice being able to help even just one person. But that’s not being inspirational; that’s just being yourself.

SHB: What have you learned in life about being a motivator?

SL: I learned from my mother when you see something that needs to be done, you can help somebody achieve it by being supportive. You must pick up on opportunities to encourage people when they are trying to make a decision that could be life-changing for them. All they need is a push. You are giving them something to shoot at by doing good things yourself. People think, if she can do it, then I can too.

SHB: Is there any achievement or contribution you are most proud of?

SL: I’m proud that I raised three decent kids; Beth, Jim and Johnny. They all have a good work ethic, and they seem to be resilient.