SACRAMENTO, Calif — Lisa Liss is ABC10’s and Schools Financial Credit Unions December Teacher of the Month.
She teaches 5th grade at Woodlake Elementary in Sacramento and has been doing so for 32 years. We asked her a few questions to really get a better understanding of how she works her magic and educates our kids.
Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
Mrs. Jones, my 3rd grade teacher was my favorite teacher. Her husband used to ride his bike to school and sit with us at recess and talk to us. She would always smile at me. On the flip side, I had a lot of not great teachers. They pushed me to try to step up and be sure that my kids know that someone cares.
What’s your favorite student success story?
I'm blessed to have a lot of success stories. One of my favorites is Anthony. Anthony was one of the ones whose past teachers were happy to move on. He came in angry and aggressive daily. He would cuss and throw things. I set him down and talked to him about his behavior. Realizing that his home life was so tough, that he was frustrated, I asked him to be my gardener that year! He agreed and spent over an hour daily watering our plants! We had the best crop of cauliflower ever that year. He calmed down enough and became someone we loved to have around. The following year he continued and was even on honor roll. When asked first, why he changed so much, he said I did. Then I told him that he had to do the work. He said that spending time outside gave him time to calm down and learning about the Holocaust taught him that if he didn't control his anger that he would be one of those like Hitler who ended up killing people.
The greatest thing about teaching is that I probably have a story for every year if not more!
What advice do you have for the future teachers of America?
Futures Teachers of America need to know that if what you are doing is coming from your heart, to take the risk, try something different. The students are worth it! No matter how hard it seems some time, keep pushing and showed children that you care. One can never go wrong if you start with kindness and love. Don't get bogged down by the testing and other requirements. Read to your students and have them write in diaries every single day. Develop a rapport by earning their respect.
What advice do you have for parents?
Best advice I can give parents, is listen to your child. Spend the time hearing about their day. No matter how small their story is, they need their parents to listen. Spend time doing the simple things, tossing a ball, reading a book, laughing and singing.
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