In 45 years at Glenridge Middle School, Judy Lister has taught physical education, computers, creative writing and language arts. She taught language arts and history on a team working with at-risk eighth-graders, mentored beginning teachers, coordinated testing, served as a language arts department head and served as curriculum resource teacher. She even helped the principal launch the school's International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in 1999.
Just about the only thing she hasn't done, it seems, is teach math or become the principal.
"Having taught so long at the same school I have certainly enjoyed seeing my students become parents and bringing their children back to Glenridge," said Lister, who is retiring at the end of the school year. "It has been a wonderful time and I enjoy getting up and coming in to school each and every day."
Those years have certainly made her wiser. Preschool and kindergarten have given children a leg up, and "I think we know a lot more about how students learn and are able to teach them in a way that really is more helpful to them," she said. But on the flip side, testing has taken away from the joy of teaching and learning, she said.
"We are seeing many of our teachers get burned out and frustrated [so] that they don’t have time to teach and enjoy teaching," she said.
Lister started at Glenridge Junior High on Aug. 21, 1968, as a physical education teacher. She has always kept connected with athletics at the school, serving as cheerleader sponsor and coaching basketball, volleyball and softball. She has also been the school athletic director and activities coordinator, and served as 9th grade service club sponsor before Glenridge became a middle school.
"I am so lucky to have a job where I am so happy" and have been able to help others, she said.