Humans of Laker Nation: Mrs. Zanotti


Zanotti with one of her skeletons.

Dru Burke

Q: So can you define happiness?
A: I think happiness is something that’s internally set in us. It’s something that has to come from the core. I think that environmental factors can add to your happiness but the truth is happiness comes from the inside of who you are.

Q: You mentioned external white why is it important and can you elaborate?
A: “Sure, so a lot of people have external environmental factors that can affect their mood, I truly don’t believe that that has any relevance to happiness. your happiness becomes part of who you are, so if you are coming every day with your own happiness, nothing that is on the outside can affect you, your own beliefs of happiness kind of go with that and external not being able to influence me as much.”

Zanotti on her computer, grading papers.

Q: Do you have a story that defines your character?
A: “I think my biggest story is the fact that I have an autoimmune disease and was diagnosed at a really young age. I really thought it wasn’t going to be able to have a family, I wasn’t going to be able to like, have a life. I thought I was going to be in a wheelchair, the idea to change my own mindset of not limiting myself to that belief system allowed me to it like empowered me to do everything that I am able to do now.”

Q: My brother has an autoimmune disease you probably know that celiac disease, are you comfortable talking more about it?
A: “I had Joint pain and swelling, and it was right before we got married, my husband and we were engaged already and I remember that was probably the scariest time of my life. I was actually working here in my second year teaching and that’s what I found out. It was really hard on me, very stressful. But at the end of the day, though it actually made me stronger, and I was actually able to be more empathetic to all of the people around me, my strength is that I’m able to build a great connection with people. My Mantra is, every day to come in and make at least one student smile. I definitely picked the right profession for me because it actually fills me up even with the stressors that are on the external. I do love what I do because of the actual students I work with, they make the biggest difference for me and I think that also helps my mental state. If I allow stress and anger and frustration to Build, that actually causes me to have a lupus attack and that’s really bad for me, so I have to learn ways to like Let It Go and that’s what I’m good at.”

Zanotti passionately teaching her class.

Q: What do you put into account when making a decision?
A: “Well, it depends on the decision, a lot of times out I’ll think about myself but I also think about the students. What would they think about it? I try to be very intentional with what I do in the classroom and at home, I think about my husband and my kids. how would this affect them and then also how would it affect me and my mental health?”

Q: Why do you think you are the way you are
A: “I’ve been blessed to be the way that I am. I think it has a lot of different factors, I think a lot of people have played a lot of influential roles for me and I also think that I am my own best friend. I have learned who I am and I’m very comfortable with who I am and I truly believe that I have always been a very thoughtful person, and I truly always try to be better when I go to bed at night. My goal always is what did my day look like, how can I be better, how could I change something to be better, and then the next day when I wake up, I try to look at that and I start right over.”