Teacher touches lives every day

Posted 9/30/08

Ashley Dieterle Experience goes a long away for a Running Creek Elementary School teacher. Marilyn Travis teaches second grade and after 17 years in …

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Teacher touches lives every day


Ashley Dieterle

Experience goes a long away for a Running Creek Elementary School teacher. Marilyn Travis teaches second grade and after 17 years in the Elizabeth School District, she knows the ups and the downs in teaching and would not give up the job for anything.

Travis moved to Elizabeth 20 years ago and started her career in the district as a school secretary. After becoming more involved with the administration side of the school, she quickly realized she wanted to teach.

“I wanted to be with the kids so I went back and got my teaching license,” she said.

Travis taught kindergarten for a couple years, then moved to second grade. She said she loves the second-grade age group, who amaze her with their skills everyday.

“They blow me away and they are so much fun,” she said.

Travis can not imagine her life without teaching. She said she lives by her husband Mitch’s words, who also teaches English and drama at Elizabeth High School.

“I really like what my husband says and he says ‘teaching is not something you do, it’s who you are,’” she said.

Travis said her students are always interested in her personal life. Her life is an open book and she is OK with that. She enjoys teaching in the community she lives in, seeing her students outside of school hours.

“I see my students at church and I see them in the store. They know where I live and they come trick or treating at my house and that just means so much to me,” she said. “It’s just a neat connection to have to the community and I think it’s an important one to have.”

Teaching in a smaller district allows Travis to have a voice and she said that is one reason she and her husband have stayed in Elizabeth for so long. She is directly involved with the school board and appreciates the members knowing her name and knowing what she teaches. She said, in a bigger school district like Douglas County, she would not have this advantage.

“I am on a teacher advisory council where we meet with two school board members and representatives from every building where we talk about employment issues and policies,” she said. “The teachers have a say in the direction our district is heading with curriculum and that is really important.”

Over the past 17 years the most important lesson Travis has learned is to not take herself too seriously. After getting her priorities in life straight — God first, family second and career third — she said teaching became a lot easier. She learned to give herself time and to not let herself become burned out in the many school activities available.

“The activities could be another full-time job. I make sure I have evenings with my husband and the committees I choose to participate in are the ones I know I can make an impact in,” she said.

Travis said future teachers should utilize the more experienced teachers when first starting out their teaching career. “Get as much exposure to other teachers as you can,” she said. “Get in there and talk with teachers who have experience and find out what they are doing. We learned everything the hard way.”

Travis said it is a privilege to have such an impact on kids’ lives and she does not take it lightly.

“I get to teach them and watch the light go on,” she said. “It’s just a rush and I love it.”

— Teacher enjoys watching ‘the light go on’

— Nearly two decades with district, instructor knows the ins and outs


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