About Lee-Ann Meredith

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao Tzu Lee-Ann Meredith is a second grade teacher, author, Department Chairperson and education advocate who has spent the duration of her time in public education at John B. Murphy Elementary School in inner city Chicago. Often characterized as funny, dynamic, and an independent innovator, Lee-Ann cites her idol as Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. Fluent in a wide range in instructional strategies for the elementary level, Lee-Ann is dedicated to being an advocate for children everywhere by implementing 'cutting edge' strategies to increase student achievement. Some of the issues that she spearhead included: promoting literacy throughout the building, leading community meetings to advocate for full day kindergarten for all students and helping implement the Responsive Classroom strategies throughout the school. In addition to working closely with the curriculum, she also had the honor to supervise (and mentor into teaching positions) numerous student teachers and practicum students from various post-secondary institutions around the Chicago area such as: Erikson Institute, National Louis, DePaul. Northeaster Illinois, Roosevelt, and North Park Universities.

I have been a dedicated teacher most of my life. It wasn’t until I was nearly 40 that I got paid to be in a classroom. I landed on my professional teaching feet in second grade room, my dream grade, at the school I wanted, with my mentor next door. It was a fantasy turned into a reality.

It hadn’t started there. I first remember teaching my 4 year old sister, Linda, what I had learned in first grade. Then, since I knew she needed to practice, I had her do my homework. It led to two of my best skills, teaching and delegation. In fact, they are so tied together in my mind that I still have a hard time delegating without wanting to teach what to do first. I have had to lighten up on that.

My life has been tipped over, turned upside down and inside out, and then had the bottom pulled out from me. Still, my essence is to teach. In many ways, I am a different person then I was twenty years ago when I began my teaching career. Yet, at the core of this apple named Lee-Ann is a teacher. What I wanted to teach twenty years ago, twenty lifetimes ago, or now, is that there is a way to find joy. Education gives us the tools for the search to achieve it.

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My joy as a teacher is the light bulbs that pop on suddenly. Seeing the determination that drives a struggling student toward success fills me with delight. The surprise in the eyes of a child who has mastered something they never expected makes my soul bubble with laughter. It is a sigh of wonder. That “got it” moment moves us from mindlessness to mindfulness.

A teacher can lead and cajole but our purpose is to allow our students’ curiosity and drive to move them forward. A teacher is like the adult who first holds the back of the bicycle newly de-training wheeled. We hold it, we start to run with it as balance is found, and then let go. The letting go is the most important part. Okay, maybe having band-aids available until the next lesson, titled Using Brakes, is mastered.

My life has moved through so many phases of teaching. I began a big sister, teaching my siblings to do my chores. (I am ashamed and yet gleeful about this.) I was a mom and bookkeeper who taught many, many little and big things. I taught second grade for over a dozen years and have been substitute teacher who actually taught for a couple more. Now I have moved into teaching energy work. My fingers and souls itch to teach Reiki and mindfulness. My gift is that I can hear what the Universe wants you to learn. What a blessing.

I used to tell people that I was just a teacher. It sounded like I was diminishing my work. I wasn’t trying to. Being just a teacher is a grand thing. Recently, however, I realized that my very core, my essence is this joyful, heart filled, and grounded educator. I am not “just a teacher.” I am essentially a teacher. That is a thing to cherish and share.

What do want to learn?

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