By Holy Penta
Liz Miller has been working at St. Mary’s Catholic School for 11 years. For two years she was the Student Council Advisor, but she began teaching nine years ago. This year, she will teach 6th through 8th grade English Language Arts.
She graduated from Northwestern State University and Louisiana College and is married to Pat Miller. Together they have two sons. Zac graduated from St. Mary’s School in 2018, and Jordan is a senior there this year.
Miller has always known that she wanted to be a teacher. As a child, she would “torture” her brother and sister by making them play school with her. She was the teacher, and they were the students learning in her classroom.
To future teachers she says, “Don’t do it for the money. Teachers need to love the job and be willing to put their whole heart into it.” Without the love of the job, many teachers come to resent it, and neither the teacher nor the student wins in that type of situation.
Clearly, Miller truly does have this love for the job. She loves teaching middle school and knows it’s where she’s supposed to be. Her excitement about teaching translates into student’s excitement about learning. This helps them reach and go beyond their full potential. She says her young students typically come to class in the beginning of the year with an awkward “too cool” attitude, but by the end of the school year, they’ve matured socially and academically and made connections that show where really deep, skillful learning has taken place.
She also loves being the Student Counsel Sponsor, which allows her to work with some really great high school students. They are all compassionate, driven, and are always looking for ways to help others. Miller likes to watch them grow into leaders in the school and in the community. “Sometimes they teach me more than I teach them,” she said.
The working atmosphere at St. Mary’s is incredibly positive and Miller says that she gets to work with some of the best teachers around. The teachers all make sure to have positive relationships with the students, parents, and each other. Miller and all her colleagues make sure the kids are reaching their academic potential as well as learning Christian values.
As an ELA teacher she has the opportunity to share her passion for reading with her students. She makes sure her lessons are effective and engaging to hold her students’ attention and convince them to love the subject just as much as she does. One of her favorite parts of teaching is hearing students say that her class has made them love to read, or when parents say that they cannot get their children to put their books down.
“These comments leave me smiling for days,” she said.