A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Laryssa Vaclavik

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Laryssa Vaclavik

Working different jobs in multiple areas can be a hard feat, but Laryssa Vaclavik miraculously does it every day. Not only is she working towards her teaching license, but she is also a substitute teacher, a lifeguard, and an assistant coach for the Portage High School (PHS) swim team.

Vaclavik currently substitutes for the Portage elementary schools in preparation for her teaching license. For as long as she can remember, she has wanted to be a teacher specifically teaching younger children.

“I am currently a substitute teacher for Portage Township Schools. I only substitute for the elementary schools. I get to fill in different classrooms when their teacher is gone. I have always wanted to be a teacher, so I went to college in Wisconsin and got my early childhood and middle school education degree. I still am working towards my license, so being a substitute is amazing practice,” Vaclavik said.

Vaclavik also taught a music class when the teacher retired mid-year after she had just finished her student teaching. She took it as a great opportunity to learn how different things work and to continue to substitute for music classes when she gets the chance.

Vaclavik’s favorite part about substitute teaching is the kids. She enjoys that every day is different from the last, especially seeing a new group of kids every day. She also enjoys that kids recognize her and get excited when they see her. She takes it as a sign that she chose the right field. 

“The kids definitely make the days super fun. It is always an interesting day, especially when I get to see a different group of kids every day. I love when I walk into any one of the elementary schools and kids from classes that I’ve subbed for before get excited to see me, even if I’m not in their class that day. It makes my heart happy and shows me that I am doing what I am meant to be doing,” Vaclavik said.

Aside from substitute teaching, Vaclavik spends most of her time by the pool. During high school, Vaclavik wanted a summer job and decided to try out lifeguarding. Since making that decision, Vaclavik has continued to be a lifeguard for eight years.

“I got into lifeguarding the summer after my senior year of high school. I needed a summer job and thought lifeguarding would be a good fit because I was a competitive swimmer. The job is definitely very hard mentally, emotionally, and physically. Your mind has to be turned on all of the time, and you have to stay focused no matter what is going on. I do enjoy it despite how tiring it is because I know that I am doing what I can to help keep people safe so that they can enjoy their time swimming. This will be my eighth year as a lifeguard and my third as a supervisor,” Vaclavik said.

Vaclavik is also an assistant swim coach for Portage High School. She was a competitive swimmer, and when she retired from swimming, she took on assistant coaching so that she could stay in the sport.

“I became an assistant swim coach first for the Ripon College swim team. I had been a part of the team for three years before that. I was living in Wisconsin to finish up an extra semester, and the head coach needed some extra help. I had just retired from swimming the year before, and I missed competing, so I figured I would still be a part of it but on the other side,” Vaclavik said. “When I moved back to Indiana, the Portage High School coach reached out to me and asked if I would like to be an assistant coach for them. I love being a part of that team. It makes the days long, but I love being there for the team during their season. Seeing them get excited when they win their race or drop time is the best feeling. It’s nice to be the person for them that all of my coaches were for me.”

Vaclavik also enjoys traveling, cats, and puzzles. She likes to relax when she has the time in the midst of her busy schedule.

“Outside of work, I do a ton of puzzles. I enjoy working on diamond art pieces. I spend a lot of time with my cats, and I love hanging out with my friends. I also enjoy camping with my roommate. We go hammocking in different areas and try new foods in new places. I really just like to relax on my off days,” Vaclavik said.