Silver Apple Award: Lisa Larson

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South Valley Junior HS Teacher Lisa Larson South Valley Junior HS Teacher Lisa Larson

Each year, eight teachers are honored for the excellence in education with the Silver Apple Award for Excellence in Education.  The teachers are given $500 for use in their classroom. Twelve-year-old Payton nominated her drama teacher Ms. Lisa Larson because, "she pours her heart into teaching," In her nomination letter she continues to say that "Ms. Larson will always push you to strive for greatness."

The love that Ms. Larson has for her students is what keeps her moving forward. Ms. Larson shares a passion for teaching and continues to inspire her students everyday. We asked her to share some of her experiences with us.

School: South Valley Junior High School

City of Residence: I reside in Gilbert Arizona

Why did you decide to get into teaching? I wanted to wanted to help kids, and pass along the things that I had learned throughout my own education to future generations.

What is your favorite teaching moment? My favorite moments are when I run into former students who have graduated from college that tell me how I have impacted them by something that I said or did while they were in my class.  To be recognized years later and to know that you have impacted their lives for the better, just as they have changed yours is something to be cherished.  I am truly blessed to be an educator, and lucky to be given the opportunity to have a job that I love, and get paid for it.

How did you feel when you realized you won the Silver Apple award? I was completely shocked when the News team arrived in my classroom to present the award.  I am honored and extremely grateful to everyone involved, especially Payton Jaeger who such lovely words, and who thought to nominate me.

What do you plan on doing with the $500 grant? A portion of the money will go to a charity, and the remaining amount will be used to purchase items for classroom use.

Please share one of your best practices in the classroom with us. Continue to educate yourself, and find ways to incorporate both traditional as well technology based instruction into your classroom.   I use both online resources and traditional methods for creating assignments, class information, rubrics, etc.  Incorporating both,  is a great way to connect with your students by merging all forms of communication, and learning others in the process.

What advice, if any, would you give to new teachers starting their career in the teaching industry? Get to know and work well with your co-workers.  You are surrounded by knowledge and know-how from years of experience.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, borrow and steal ideas used in other classrooms, or even observe other classes/teachers first-hand.  There is always something that you can take away and utilize both personally and professionally.  I wouldn’t be where I am without my co-workers!  

What was the greatest life lesson you've learned through your teaching experience that has affected your personal life? The greatest life lesson that I have learned is patience coupled with a sense of humor.  Teaching is a challenge, especially Junior High.  I am continuously reminded that “all the world’s a stage, and are mere players upon it”.  Even though sometimes we want better lighting, additional lines, or more time to rehearse…….the show must go on and everyone is watching!  When those moments arrive, I know that I must lead by example and be willing to not take myself too seriously.  What endears us to others is the knowledge that we are all human, and it’s those moments with my students that make me a better teacher, and a better human being. 

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