Search form

Teacher of the Day

Name:  Lisa Mattes

School:  Burleigh Elementary

Subject:  First Grade

State:  Wisconsin

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

I am from a family of teachers. I didn't think I wanted to be one and went to college to be an actuary. I never really found my niche and changed my major to Elementary Education a few days shy of the application deadline. All those Calculus classes my freshman and sophomore year paid off, because my PPST math score was perfect, which made my acceptance to the program automatic. Since then, I've never turned back and ADORE my job!

How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?

I first started teaching almost 20 years ago. Things are quite different! Much more accountability and "fences" nowadays...Our district says we have freedom within fences, but the fences are required. This increases fidelity and still gives individuals an opportunity to add their own flair to their daily classroom lives. 

What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?

Take it easy on yourself. Focus on one area at a time to tweak. Otherwise you will burn out. Also, check out the teacher blogs and education Web sites. You may stop taking care of your house because you'll be addicted, but you will find SOOO much help and inspiration! Even friendships with fellow educators around the country and world.

My best day in the classroom was when…

There are many best days! Every year around mid-October, once the routines are established and kiddos are comfortable taking risks with their learning, the best days REALLY begin.

The best compliment I ever received was...

From a headstrong, independent, bright, not-so-easy-to-teach student who told me on the last day of school, "I just really respect you. You take the time to understand each of us and make us work harder than we want to. Thank you for that."

What's your favorite part of the school year?

Seems wishy-washy, but I love too many parts of the year to have a favorite. The energy of back to school is deliciously exhausting...the joy of all things Fall in WI is too fun...winter celebrations are a blast...seeing the kids all grown upp-ish in January after a few weeks off is terrific...spring is refreshing as they've become so independent and skilled...the end of the year is bittersweet. I really love it all!

What is your one must-have item for the classroom?

Our Smart Document Camera has changed my life. Couldn't live without it now!

What do you eat for breakfast on school days?

Almond butter (if my son wasn't allergic to peanut butter, it would be peanut butter) spread on a high-fiber bun. I take it in the car with me because I'm always focusing on getting my son and daughter ready to leave the house.

What movie or TV show do you secretly love?

"Grey's Anatomy"


Want to be considered for EducationWorld's Teacher of the Day series? Click here.

Education World®
Copyright © 2011 Education World