A Teacher Ready for Action
The Story of the Teacher Who Made a Difference In Our Lives
Most of us can share a story of a teacher who made a difference in our lives; one who left a lasting impression. Sometimes, it’s simply a fond memory, a kind smile, or a funny story. But for some, the impact is life-changing.
Elizabeth Stockton, a substitute teacher for Prescott Unified School District, remembers her seventh-grade teacher Mr. Baidu, for how he motivated his students. He told Elizabeth that she could achieve anything she wanted through hard work and perseverance. He believed she could accomplish great things if she set her mind to it. Mr. Baidu inspired Elizabeth to become a teacher so that she can influence children to reach for the stars and never give up. An approach she applied to her nearly 30 years of teaching in Virginia and one she carries with her into classrooms as a substitute teacher.
Elizabeth knew she wanted to work with children at a young age. As a kid, actively competing in sports such as gymnastics and swimming, she was drawn to helping the younger athletes.
Looking back, Elizabeth recalls, “I’d stick around after my practices and help the little kids, I knew at a very young age, teaching was my passion.” So that’s exactly what she did. Attending the College of William and Mary on an athletic scholarship for gymnastics, she completed her bachelor’s degree and subsequently pursued her master’s degree at George Mason University.
“I’d stick around after my practices and help the little kids, I knew at a very young age, teaching was my passion.”
From Elizabeth’s perspective, she was not ready to end her teaching career in Virginia, until her retired husband convinced her to move to Prescott, Arizona, and embrace a slower pace. Now retired from full-time teaching, those years of gymnastics training are paying off as Elizabeth epitomizes flexibility in her role as a substitute teacher. “I told [the Prescott Unified School District] upfront, I am willing to teach anything and everything; any grades, any grade level, any subject. To me, that is fun and challenging,” shares Elizabeth; teaching everything from preschool to high school, special education to band, and everything in between.
The Power of a Teacher
Having taught for many years prior, she is very familiar with the classroom environment. From this abundant wisdom, she offers this advice: “First would be to go in there with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. A smile says a lot. Second, give a little bit of your background and what your expectations are as a substitute. Third, I would find a way to relate to your students to show them you care.” Elizabeth emphasizes the importance of going into the classroom happy, smiling, and showing the students that you want to be there.
“First would be to go in there with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. A smile says a lot. Second, give a little bit of your background and what your expectations are as a substitute. Third, I would find a way to relate to your students to show them you care.”
Elizabeth recognizes the power she has as a teacher, even as a substitute teacher, to have an impact on her students by helping them see that they can do anything. They can accomplish great things! She wants every student to know that she believes in them and she wants them to believe in themselves. She desires to instill a work ethic that demonstrates through hard work and perseverance anything is possible, failure won’t stop you, and to fiercely pursue your dreams.
The Opportunity to be a Positive Influence
Elizabeth says, “One of the reasons I love teaching now is I still feel like I can influence them by letting them know that they can pursue anything that they want, especially if it’s a subject they feel they’re not good at, I tell them ‘Don’t give up on yourself, you can do it!’ And that’s why I still love subbing because I do feel like I can make a difference,” she continues, “to know that you can have an impact on a student, whether you’re a teacher or a sub, the words that you say can really influence them. That is powerful to me and one of the reasons that I love teaching.”
Much of what fuels her zeal for teaching is her active lifestyle and adoring family. Elizabeth starts every day off with an exercise routine that includes stretching (to maintain that previously mentioned flexibility) and walking. When time allows, she loves hiking with her husband and dog. Elizabeth tells us, “I [exercise] every morning, I believe it gives me energy for the day. I’m thankful at my age I still have lots of energy and I attribute it to waking up each morning and [exercising]. It’s the way to start my day off with a bang!”
Elizabeth has always been committed to her exercise routine, in fact, that is what led her to meet her husband at the gym decades ago. Fervently pursuing one’s dreams is something Elizabeth wants to instill in her students, but we can thank the fervent pursuit of her husband's dream to retire in Prescott and ultimately bring her into substitute teaching for the Prescott Unified School District. Thirty years and two children later the rest, as Elizabeth says, “is history.” We are so glad she didn’t skip the gym that day and she certainly is as well!
Elizabeth and her husband share a son, a daughter, and two “granddogs.” Her children live in Phoenix and Texas, respectively, therefore she notes “travel” on her list of extracurricular activities so that she may see them often. Excitedly, in August, Elizabeth will accept a new title, Grandmother, when her first “grandhuman,” a boy, is born.
It is a gift to the students of Prescott to have such a passionate substitute teacher, as Elizabeth. She exudes joy, positivity, and a deep love for, not only teaching but for the students, she is honored to teach. While substitute teaching poses challenges creating those lasting connections, she maintains her desire to leave an impression on each one of her students that there isn’t anything they can’t accomplish through hard work and determination. In Elizabeth’s own words “I will never give up on a kid, I will always try.” Elizabeth attributes much of her love for teaching in Prescott to the wonderful teachers, staff, and administrators in the Prescott Unified School District.
Looking for a full-time substitute position? Educational Services, Inc. (ESI) offers full- time positions with benefit eligibility. Positions are compensated at a daily rate and with the understanding that this is a full-time position with the expectation that an assignment shall be fulfilled on a daily basis, each day school is in session. Apply now!