Lisa Espasandin, 6th Grade Humanities Teacher, Pacific Middle School, Vancouver, Washington
Nominated by: Libbey Holloway (parent):
Mrs. Espasandin really cares about her students. My daughter is a 6th grader in her class. Sixth grade has been challenging for my daughter because she has severe anxiety. The new school/new kids really made it hard for her to go to school without being very upset. Mrs. Espasandin talked to my daughter and told her she could relate to her because her kids have high anxiety as well. She told my daughter she was welcome to come into her class during lunch if she felt more comfortable having lunch there. That is huge, because teachers need their lunch time too! Mrs. Espasandin emailed me and let me know she would help my daughter whatever way possible! She even had homework sent home to us while my daughter has been out sick for a week! Mrs. Espasandin is a one of a kind teacher! She does more than teaching, she cares about our kids! She is awesome and I'm so glad my daughter and I have her in our lives!
Congratulations Lisa, from all of us at K103!
What inspired you to become an educator?
I always loved school. I loved getting supplies in August, setting up my locker, the smell of powder paints, helping teachers with “tasks”, etc… I guess I couldn’t give up those Summer school supply sales! No, really--I knew I wanted to make a difference somehow, using my skills and talents, and this allowed me to do that, all the while doing something that I love--teach!
What do you like most about teaching?
Hands down, developing relationships with kids. It’s a bonus that those relationships carry over into their academic work :) I live in the community I teach in, so being able to see those kids grow up? Nothing better!
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
In regards to changes in technology--remember mimeographs? Slide projectors? Well, they don’t exist anymore. I date myself… In regards to students--I feel that, overall, kids are more inclusive of others that are different from them. This makes me happy. I think they are more comfortable in voicing their opinions and thoughts. This makes me happy too.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
I’d like parents to know that I consider each one of my students as “my kid.” As a mom myself, I can’t help but think, “How would I want my child’s teacher to handle this situation?” I am on your team and I count that a privilege! Also, each child develops differently and at a different pace--and that’s ok. I completely understand that and celebrate that!
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
I just received a letter from a past student the other day that reminded me of one of my favorite quotes--
“At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou.
The letter read, “Dear Mrs. Espasandin, I just want to thank you for teaching me. I know I was difficult sometimes and sometimes easy. You have inspired me to love school more than I did before. You have also inspired me to love reading more and more each day. I have had a lot of fun in your class. I learned a lot and forgot a lot. But, I won’t forget how nice you were. I have forgotten how to spell a little. Mark the errors as you want. We always learn from our mistakes and improve as we make more mistakes. Without mistakes, we can’t learn. Sincerely, Your Amazing 6th grade student (now in 7th), _____.” Best. Ever.