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Students give Lisa Eckhart a noteworthy response

May 03, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

Editor's note: This is the eighth in a monthly series highlighting excellent educators in Washington County elementary schools. Next month: Maugansville Elementary.




scottb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Lisa Eckhart said she loves the notes her students leave on her desk when she is not looking.

What she likes most about being a teacher at Lincolnshire Elementary School, she said, "is the way the kids respond to you, the way some of them hug you or leave little notes on your desk to let you know what you are doing is worthwhile and it is appreciated."

Some of the notes from students say, "You are the best teacher ever in the whole wide world." She suspects that whomever that student has as a teacher the next year will get the same note, she said with a smile.

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Some students, when caught misbehaving, write unsolicited notes apologizing for the behavior, she said.

Eckhart, 54, has taught fifth grade at the school for seven years. She previously taught in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. She has about 20 years of teaching experience.

Lincolnshire Principal Darlene Teach said Eckhart is "an excellent teacher."

She goes beyond what she is required to do, by doing things like attending PTA meetings.

"She is just an exemplary teacher," Teach said.

Eckhart said her favorite part of the job is "just being with the kids, the fellowship of the teachers," she said. "When things are not going right, you can talk to another teacher to help get through it."

The teachers also share ideas and commiserate with each other, she said.

"There is always another shoulder to lean on," she said.

The staff is very supportive of the students, she said. For example, when a student has a death in the family, the staff takes up a collection and typically donates about $200 to $300, she said.

The hardest part of the job is maintaining discipline.

"There are days when it seems like I do nothing but discipline," Eckhart said.

Eckhart said she knew by the time she was in seventh grade that teaching was the profession for her.

"I have always enjoyed working with children," she said. "When there were babies around, I'd be baby-sitting."

But she doesn't spend all her time thinking about children and education.

Her husband, Greg Eckhart, has a Harley Ultra Classic. On Saturdays, they travel on the Harley on the back roads of Maryland, she said.

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