Encouraging growth: Meet Lisa Richard, ’18, early childhood education alum

Written byCaleb Cooper, communications major

“They always say to do what you liked to do as a child, and I spent lots of time teaching stuffed animals in my bedroom.”

Lisa Richard
Graduation Year
Class of 2018
Early Childhood Education
Lafayette, La.

Where I'm From

I’m from Lafayette, La., where I knew that I wanted to be a teacher.

Where I Am

I’m a first-grade teacher at Woodvale Elementary School.

Where I'm Going

I’m using the knowledge I gain from the classroom to help my students learn and grow.

Lisa Richard, ’18, has used her early childhood education degree to start her career as a first-grade teacher — something she knew she wanted to do from a young age.

“They always say to do what you liked to do as a child, and I spent lots of time teaching stuffed animals in my bedroom.”

Now that she's teaching full time, "I know I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to do," she said.

"I get so excited when I feel like I've really helped someone grow, and kids grow so much in first grade,” she said. “Most of my students come to me recognizing a couple of words and small phrases and they leave me reading paragraphs! That end-of-the-year paperwork becomes so much sweeter when I see how far they've come.”

Lisa knew she wanted to teach after she got a job working with preschoolers in an after-school program.

“It was the first job I had that didn't feel like work, and that is a pretty spectacular thing. I always had a different story to tell my parents when I got home and I found the kids hilarious,” she said.

As she progressed through her teaching career, she began to better understand what growth can truly mean in the classroom.

“I know that all your dream lessons don't end with everyone reaching the skill you were supposed to teach. However, I didn't truly understand that sometimes successes are very small ones,” she said. “Instead of being able to write a sentence, someone may finally realize halfway through the year how to write the word ‘bat’ phonetically. That can be worth a major celebration if they came to you not knowing all their letters!”

One of Lisa’s favorite days in the classroom was when she decided to devote a day to their class pet — a tortoise — for his birthday.

"The kids adore him! At the end of my first year of teaching, we had a day to celebrate his birthday. We did turtle-related math activities, turtle-related word works, wore turtle headbands and ended the day with taking him outside and reading a story to him," she said.

"It was one of the best days of my life."

Lisa spent her time at the University learning how to become a knowledgeable and well-balanced teacher. Her early childhood education major offered a variety of classes, including children’s literature and a class about integrating play into the classroom.

“All of them are equally important in preparing for a well-rounded educator,” she said.

As a student, Lisa was in the Honors Program — a part of her student life that proved to be greatly beneficial.

“I'm really glad I stuck with it. The seminars every semester gave me insight into the diversity of students UL Lafayette has, as opposed to just the people I would see in my education classes. I liked hearing about other people's lives and it gave me a new perspective.”

Her experience as a student worker also proved useful when it comes to managing the behind-the-scenes parts of the classroom.

“I also worked as a student worker in the Department of Marketing and I think I incorporate a lot of organizational skills I learned there into managing all of my paperwork as a teacher,” she recalled.

Some of the most important things Lisa took away from the University were the lessons her own teachers shared.

“I had some really influential professors at my time at UL Lafayette. Marietta Adams and Aimee Barber are superstars in what they do, but more importantly in inspiring positivity in a field in which sometimes doesn't have a lot of it.”

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