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Diving Into 2nd Grade with Lisa Major: Finding Joy in Teaching and Learning

The Hornet Hive Podcast

Release Date: 02/15/2024

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More Episodes

In this episode of the Hornet Hive podcast, we had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa Major, a dedicated 2nd-grade teacher at Discovery Elementary in Williamston. As a seasoned educator, Lisa walked us through her inspiring journey into education and her experiences within the Williamston school district. Throughout our conversation, Lisa shared valuable insights into her love for teaching, the impact of the Williamston community, and the challenges she has faced, particularly in the context of the ever-evolving landscape of education and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Joy of Teaching 2nd Grade

One of the most striking aspects of Lisa's narrative was her infectious passion for teaching 2nd grade. While she initially favored 3rd grade, Lisa found a deep connection with the 2nd-grade students due to their unbridled enthusiasm for learning. She emphasized that these young learners, with their genuine appreciation for education and their unassuming eagerness, continue to bring her immense joy each day. Through her nurturing guidance, she fosters an environment where children can thrive, embracing the unique wonder and curiosity that defines this pivotal stage of their educational journey.

Embracing Support and Unity among Staff

Lisa spoke with great warmth about the supportive environment that characterizes the ethos of Williamston's educational community. She highlighted the importance of being able to seek and provide assistance without judgment, emphasizing the collective dedication to the well-being and growth of the students. This spirit of unity and cooperation among the staff members has been instrumental in fostering a nurturing and empowering environment, instilling a sense of purpose and camaraderie that transcends the traditional role of an educator.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Education

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reshaped the landscape of education. Lisa candidly shared her experiences, detailing the challenges brought forth by this unprecedented change. The increased reliance on electronic communication and the blurring boundaries between home and school presented a learning curve for both educators and students. Furthermore, the shift to remote learning and the subsequent return to traditional classroom routines posed unique challenges, underscoring the adaptability and resilience required of educators faced with such dynamic changes.

Navigating Technological Advancements

As education becomes increasingly intertwined with technology, Lisa emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balance between the benefits and limitations of digital tools in the classroom. While devices such as iPads and Chromebooks offer valuable learning opportunities, she elucidates the potential loss of personal interactions amidst the proliferation of screen time. Moreover, she conveyed the students' adeptness with technology, a testament to the evolving demands placed on educators to integrate digital literacy seamlessly into their pedagogical approach.

Cultivating Community Engagement

Within the context of the Williamston community, Lisa highlighted the heartwarming collective efforts that have resonated deeply with her. The annual 12 Days of Giving project stands as a tangible example of the community's generosity and its profound impact on the students. Through initiatives like this, the community's unwavering support and engagement serve to reinforce the school's role as a hub of interconnectedness and shared values, further enriching the educational experience for both students and educators.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Lisa Major's invaluable perspective offers crucial insights into the dynamic nature of education, the resiliency of educators, and the profound impact of community involvement. Amidst the evolving landscape of pedagogy and the enduring effects of the pandemic, her unwavering dedication to fostering growth and nurturing young minds stands as a testament to the essential role of educators in shaping the future. As we navigate the complexities of modern education, Lisa's experiences serve as a poignant reminder of the enduring spirit and collective endeavor that underpin the educational journey for both the educators and the students.

In listening to Lisa's journey, it becomes evident that the pursuit of knowledge and growth extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. It transcends the conventional boundaries, weaving a rich tapestry of experiences that shape the intellectual, emotional, and communal growth of the individuals involved. With each interaction and anecdote shared, Lisa's narrative beautifully encapsulates the profound impact of educators and the collective dedication to fostering a future brimming with promise and possibility.

TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:03]:
Welcome back to the Hornet Hive. I'm your host, doctor Christopher Lewis, one of the members of the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education. Really excited to have you back again this week. Every week I love being able to sit down and talk with you and be able to share Some of the amazing things that are happening in our district because there are amazing things that are happening within our district. There's amazing people that are working in our district. There are So many things that our kids do that are just so above and beyond what other districts offer, and I want to Take the time to be able to share with you all of these different things because I know that not all of you have kids in the district. And I also know that things change, and it's important for people to understand the people, the opportunities, the things that are happening in the district so that you are connected with What's Happening as well. This week, we've got another great guest with us today.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:56]:
Lisa Majors is with us, and she's a 2nd grade teacher at Discovery Elementary. Street. And I love being able to bring you our teachers because they do such amazing things with our kids. And it's important it's important for you to know the people that are working with our kids. No matter if you have kids in 2nd grade or if you have kids in high school or if you don't have kids in the district at all anymore, and that's okay. So really excited to have Lisa with us today. Lisa, thanks so much for joining us today.

Lisa Major [00:01:23]:
Thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:01:26]:
Well, I am excited to be able to get to know you a little bit more and let other people get to know you. So let's turn the clock back a little bit here, and tell me your story. Tell me what brought you originally to Williamston.

Lisa Major [00:01:39]:
Oh, we're gonna have to turn the clock back about 11 years. I started working in the district as a guest teacher back in, I I wanna say maybe 2012. I had moved back to the state. I was teaching in North Carolina. I taught 3rd grade there. And when I I returned to Michigan, I was seeking, you know, for a job here and subbing seemed to be a way to get into districts and to get to know the different districts in the area. And I remember subbing in Williamston a few times, and it was such a wonderful experience all the way around. Just the staff, you know, staff, the kids, the experience, School.

Lisa Major [00:02:11]:
Academic standards. I mean, I have been in a lot of districts. Let me just say that again. Many districts, and Williamson just sort of stood out amongst rest. And what I would do is try to get as many jobs here as I could, and then I would fill in with other districts. And once I was here enough, I would get to know staff members and they say, hey, you know, you'll be able to stay this day so I'd be here as much as I possibly could. And then one of the days I was subbing, I was approached. School.

Lisa Major [00:02:35]:
At the time, we called it a tier 2 peer professional position. Now we refer to it as when, like, what I need position. And, of course, I was like, wait, I can be here every day? Absolutely. So I accepted that position and so I did that for 3 years. I worked with kids reading and math interventions and then we would administer assessments and things like that. Ultimately, I wanted a teaching position, so I did leave for a year. I I taught in Stockbridge As a title one teacher, it was a long term subposition there as well. And then some positions opened up here in explorer and discovery.

Lisa Major [00:03:04]:
And I thought, oh, let me Let me throw my hat in the ring as it were, and I did. And, ultimately, I was hired as a 2nd grade teacher. So I've been doing that now for 6 years. So I'm very fortunate to be here.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:03:15]:
So talk to me about 2nd grade, and what is it about 2nd grade that you love most?

Lisa Major [00:03:19]:
Well, I have to say that a 3rd grade used to be my favorite grade level. Now mind you, I have I have subbed or taught, quote unquote, pre k all the way to high school during my sub time. And I have to say that 3rd grade was always Special to me. But when I started teaching 2nd grade, I realized I liked it even more because the kids of course, they're always sweet, but They still appreciate learning and they they're not quite as savvy as 3rd grade and above can be as far as, like, knowledge of things going on around. They Still have that joy of learning and it's just been a really a a real joy to work here and to work with these kids because they're so great and, you know, they still they still They still enjoy school. They still enjoy learning. And I I just it's just a joy every day.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:04:04]:
Now you've been working in and out of the district now for a number of years. And as you said, you've done a lot of different things from subbing to win positions to being in now in the classroom for many years. And as a teacher, I know that it can be a challenging role. It can be especially you went through COVID and all of the challenges that that put out there. But talk to me about what has sustained you over the years in our district and what makes Williamston a great place to work?

Lisa Major [00:04:34]:
Well, it's Sure words never were spoken as far as things having changed since COVID. That has truly been I think for all of us, I think no matter what position you have, no matter what Your job is I think that COVID really did change things. But truly, yeah, this is my 19th year in education. I know to look at me, you wouldn't think so, but it's true. I've been Teaching now where I've been in education for 19 years, and it's the kids truly. That's what keeps me going. And just being able to interact with them and seeing their growth From August to June, and just knowing that you make an impact and a positive impact on kids' lives. I mean, Williamston is special because Of everything.

Lisa Major [00:05:11]:
We were talking families, we're talking staff, we're talking kids. That's what has like, every day, I come here and think, gosh, I get to work here. I know it sounds cheesy and whatever it might be, but it's true. And as far as teaching, it it would be the kids. Many things have changed over the teen years. I I mean, I started teaching back in 2005. And so many many things have changed, but Kids are still kids and it's still a joy to work with them. And and Williamston just truly the community is just a special place.

Lisa Major [00:05:40]:
I don't live here. I live in Howell. I feel like I should mention that. School. I enjoy being here and just a a shameless plug of our 12 days of giving, we're on day 11 today and that is a 2nd great love Service Project and explore and discovery, but we collect donations, various donations for the different days. And just to see the community come together, I'm Pleasantly surprised every year by the generosity of the community and how much it impacts the kids, and they're so proud of this project. And we talk a lot about how it it will affect community in a positive way and the impacts it'll have. And it's just such a special just a special place to work.

Lisa Major [00:06:15]:
The community, the families, the kids, I could go on, but it's just a great place to be.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:06:21]:
Now every teacher that I talk to, you're storytellers. You have definite stories that you SCAVE that you hold on to, that you take home with you, that you reflect back on for positive or negative. And that happens throughout every year, but it compounds throughout your career. As you think back to the experiences that you've had in Williamston, Simpson. Can you share a story with me that epitomizes to you the experience that you've had as a staff member here in Williamston?

Lisa Major [00:06:50]:
I guess I would say Just the fact that we just come together as a staff so beautifully and just knowing that when you need support, it's there. And when you you have a student that may or that might need extra what whatever that might entail, to know that people have your back And to be able to say, hey. You know, I'm having this is going on. How can I get what can I do? And just being able to talk together in an honest way And to know that people aren't judging you, that you're doing the best that you can, and your goal is always to be there for the kids and to do your best for the kids. And so that to me there are various stories, but, like, that's the biggest one for me is being able to say, hey, I need help. Because oftentimes we don't ask Enough for help. And so that's just been a big a big, gosh. She's just made such a positive impact on my teaching career and as a person and just knowing that, okay, I have the support here that I need.

Lisa Major [00:07:44]:
To me, that's such an important part of education.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:07:47]:
Now I know you mentioned the fact that Teaching has changed since COVID and for parents that don't have or community members that don't have kids in the district. Talk to me about that. And how has teaching changed, and what have you had to do differently now versus prior to COVID.

Lisa Major [00:08:08]:
COVID, like, even I think just in our personal lives, it has affected us so much. Time, I feel like it's different now. I mean, it truly isn't, but when you think back, my gosh, is that only last year? It feels like 10. Or, you know, time things like that. I mean, it's just such a it has, I think, Truly done a number on us mentally and just professionally and and everything. Teaching has changed. I think we're competing a lot more with electronics and devices And what goes on at home as far as screen time and things like that. When I started teaching, email's a wonderful thing.

Lisa Major [00:08:40]:
But when I was teaching, it was usually phone calls or it was person and and now a lot of things are done electronically, which is great in a way, but you also lose some of that FaceTime. And sometimes the way things come across with just words is a text is different than when you're actually talking to somebody, and so I think that's kind of been a challenge. It's been great in many ways, but But it's also been a challenge. And for kids, that screen time is such a devices and things. Like, we have Ipads and Chromebooks and things in the classroom, of scores, and they're great devices for learning and learning tools and all of that. But, you know, I stumble on what's going on with them sometimes that they're not working out to say, hey, who thinks they could fix this? Oh, wonderful. And so they're they're really good with technology, which is great because we know that that is a part of society now and and it's important. But I do think we lose some of that Of of the interactions, and I I miss some of that with parents and with the kids sometimes.

Lisa Major [00:09:33]:
And I do feel like that's one of the biggest Challenges and I also feel like when kids were home for such a long time, it was just different and and they're used to learning in a different way. They're kinda like, we would have assignments and things for kids to work on, but they did it at their own time. You know, maybe that was after dinner or maybe that was earlier. They got everything done by lunch and then the afternoon was kind of theirs to do as they wished and And that's it's not like that here. You know, we have our schedule and routine, and so I think that's been a challenge as well. I think the kids, for the most part, appreciate the routine that we have here, School. But I do think that that's been a challenge.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:10:04]:
Well, Lisa, I just wanna say thank you. Thank you for all that you do to be able to help our young ones to be able to thrive and and prepare them for 3rd grade and beyond, and I truly wish you all the best.

Lisa Major [00:10:17]:
Oh, thank you. I appreciate your time.