2019 Kansas Master Teacher Lisa Jarvis
“Life is all about choices and I do not think that teaching is any different. The choice I instill in my students and the choice I continue to make every day: believe,” states Lisa Jarvis.
Jarvis did not believe, for a while, that she would be a teacher. Not feeling the connection in her first education classes, she changed fields. After graduate school, while looking for a job, she began taking substitute teaching and coaching jobs. “After spending about one year working closely with middle school and high school students, I knew I had found my calling.” At 25, she went back to school and earned her teaching degree.
Jarvis began teaching in 2009 at Emporia Middle School after earning a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University. She earned a previous bachelor’s degree at Fort Hays State University in 2003 and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 2004. In 2013, she began working at Council Grove Junior/Senior High School.
There, Jarvis works to create a school-wide approach to improving writing—providing staff development, analyzing student data, evaluating instruction, and creating enrichment opportunities. As her principal said, “She is an independent thinker who provides fresh ideas for improving her classroom and our school.”
In the classroom, Jarvis is quick to point out to students that submitting an assignment does not mean the work is done. To counteract her students’ hurried approach to assignments, Jarvis sets mini-deadlines, provides instant feedback, requires students to revise and redo work, and provides them with adequate time to do it.
Jarvis takes every opportunity to teach her students. A student who did not enjoy public speaking once asked Jarvis to buy a pizza during a fundraiser. Jarvis agreed, but only if the student delivered a speech to the whole class about why Jarvis should buy the pizza. The student took the challenge and later said, “Mrs. Jarvis is one of the first people who has made me overcome some of my fears... I feel like Mrs. Jarvis has helped to make me a better person.”