HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Allen Samuels CDJR Teacher of the Month for September is Lisa Shelton. She teaches 6th grade at Graber Elementary. This is her first year as a lead teacher.
"The thing that surprised me the most is that I can relate to the kids on a level that I can, with the age gap," Shelton said. "Also, the thing that surprised the most was all the people I knew that had their kids and grandkids in my room. It's just a small town here in Hutchinson."
Shelton is very familiar with Graber as she was both a paraprofessional and then a long-term sub as she went back to school to get her teaching credential.
"I've always wanted to be a teacher, since I was 10 years old," Shelton said. "I used to teach my stuffed animals in my room. I had my little class going, you know? I've wanted to do this forever, right? Then, life kind of got in the way. I had kiddos of my own and went a different route doing office work and I was in administration for many years with office work. I decided that I would stop doing that, because I wasn't making the money that I wanted. Then I went into production at an aerospace place. When COVID hit, I got laid off. My husband was working at the same place and he did, too. I said, I'm going for it. I'm done. I'm tired of wasting my time. I went for it. I did the para to teacher program at WSU. I did all my internship here at Graber. I've been affiliated with Graber since my oldest son is 24 and he went here kindergarten on, so I've been around Graber for many years."
She's found ways to find out more about her kids and relate to them as they learn more about her.
"I have a little thing I do twice a week, called terms," Shelton said. "I give them a term from the 80s that I'm accustomed to, and the 90s and I'll have them guess what it is. For example, the last one was tightrolling. Of course, we know, that's what you do to the bottom of your pants. They didn't guess it, so I stumped them, so then they get to stump the teacher. So, they said, no cap, which I know is no lie, because I have a 16-year-old daughter. It was, I think, TikTok, where they got it."
For Shelton, she feels great to be able to have the maturity level of the older kids, while still being in a building that is familiar to her. She also encourages those that have always had a passion for teaching to feed that passion and become a teacher, as it is what she thinks she should have been doing all along.