Miles Lacouture plays bass guitar in a psychedelic rock band, substitute teaches in Providence, and is on his way to getting certified to teach.
At 41, Lacouture, of Cranston, is pursuing a dream deferred.
Having earned his bachelor’s in liberal studies from Providence College’s School of Continuing Education (SCE) this year, Lacouture is now pursuing certification through SCE so he can teach high school math.
Graced as a youth with a “free ride” to Salve Regina University -- courtesy of his father’s role on the faculty -- Lacouture quit school after three years to play in bands in the underground Providence music scene.
He worked retail management jobs to make ends meet, including at a comic book store (another of his passions) from 1998 to 2001 and then at various pharmacies from 2002 to 2010.
But it was his work for General Electric (GE) teaching corporate creative team building classes for five years that made him realize retail management was not his calling.
“I always was a smart guy, and a go getter, so I worked my way into management, but it just was not the life I wanted,” he said.
In fact, some of GE’s clients were high schools. The job he wanted was right in front of him.
“Doing that [type of teaching] was the epiphany,” he recalls, thinking: “What would it be like to go back to school and become a high school math teacher?”
That meant finishing his bachelor’s degree. He looked at most of the Rhode Island colleges before discovering SCE was the most attractive and affordable option.
What’s more, he was able to transfer 75 of the 83 credits he had earned at SRU to SCE, he said. It helped that his wife, Melissa, started her own business as a professional photographer. He decided to go back to school at SCE and finish.
It didn’t hurt along the way that he comes from a long line of educators, including his uncle, George Lacouture, a PC alum, who taught math and then became an administrator in the Woonsocket school system.
The decision to return to college also helped lift him out of depression he had battled as a youth and adult. Family, including his 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son, are what gets him up in the morning and motivated him to take a risk and pursue his dream.
“Since I had my daughter, I did a lot of soul searching and I worked hard to be a great contributor to society,” he said. “And that’s what got me to have my act together in order to go back to school and finish my degree.”
Lacouture walked with his class in May, finished his bachelor’s degree in August, and then began to take additional classes through SCE’s Teacher Certification Program (TCP) in order to get certified to teach. In mid-October, he began substitute teaching.
Lacouture earned a 3.68 GPA at SCE and spoke at the Honors and Graduation Celebration on May 12. He spoke about being a forty-something student.
“I always wanted to become a teacher,” he told his peers, “but the goal of going back to school just seemed like it wouldn’t happen” – until he found SCE.
Today, Lacouture is on the path to share his passions and expertise with Providence students, but in the near future, as a full-time math teacher, who like Jack Black, in the movie, “School of Rock,” just might use music to inform his lessons.
"Music is math,” he said. “You can always break down a song, like a formula almost, by looking at its different components, like rhythm or how instrumentation is structured.”
Besides his fledgling career in music, Lacouture prizes most his family, his collection of comic books, and his bandmates.
“Music is a labor of love,” he enthuses. “Play those shows, make no money and have the best night of your life.”