Baker teacher’s career is in full bloom
Published 12:53 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018
Even as a young girl, Lisa Antoniou knew she wanted to be a teacher.
She, her sister and cousins would play ‘school;’ Antoniou would begin the lesson.
“I’m sure they hated me,” Antoniou laughed.
Email newsletter signup
Eventually, her imagination became a reality.
Now, Antoniou heads the front of her classroom, teaching integrated science to sixth graders at Baker Intermediate School.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” Antonio said. “I can’t imagine being anything else.”
Antoniou said her path to becoming a teacher didn’t come without its challenges, though.
Antoniou started teaching at age 30.
Before teaching, Antoniou worked as a secretary at the University of Kentucky.
“In my heart, this is what I wanted to do,” Antoniou said. “But I didn’t start at 22 like a lot of people do. So I’m kind of a late bloomer I like to say.To me, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“We all find our paths when it suits us.”
Because of her experience, Antoniou said she tries to teach her daughter and her students that it’s OK to do things in their way and their own time whether it be taking a test or finding your path.
“As long as you are confident with what you’re doing and giving it your best,” Antoniou said. “It’s OK. We all do things differently.”
Antoniou grew up in Bourbon County and attended Paris High School. She graduated from Morehead State University with her bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Antoniou has taught middle school for 14 years — teaching sixth grade for 10 years and seventh grade for four years.
Antoniou said she likes the middle school age group because students are curious at that age.
Antoniou said she chose science because she always enjoyed it, and it’s a more a hands-on subject to teach. She teaches everything from the scientific method to states of matter, energy, Newton’s laws, ecosystems and her favorite: earth science.
“That’s part of the reason I like science because it’s so hands-on,” Antoniou said. “…I think for this age group, that’s important because they’re not quite abstract thinkers as well yet — not quite yet they’re getting there. So the more hands-on I can do, the better they’re going to understand the content.”
Antoniou started teaching in 2003 and has spent most of her career teaching in Clark County. She taught in Montgomery County for two years. When Antoniou isn’t teaching, she spends time with her family biking around town, swimming and traveling. Her family has flown to New York City and has been to Disney World several times, she said.
Antoniou said one of the most impactful experiences she’s had was with the writing project at Eastern Kentucky University. There, she learned more about writing and how to incorporate that into her teaching. She later went on to work with the program for about six years.
She said the program helped her learn more about how to teach children and how their minds worked. With the program, Antoniou has traveled across the U.S to share ideas and learn more alongside other educators.
Because of that experience, Antoniou said she is the writing committee chair at Baker.
“That experienced was life-changing, and I’m so grateful for that opportunity,” Antoniou said.
Each day, Antoniou said she feels like she learns right alongside her kids. Her students are always teaching her something new.
Antoniou said one of her favorite parts of teaching is when the students grasp a concept.
“I love when I get those ‘aha’ moments from my kids,” Antoniou said.
Teaching is more than just teaching the subject, she said. She said it’s crucial to build relationships with every student.
“You’re making a whole person,” Antoniou said.
The hardest part about teaching, though, is seeing her students struggle, Antoniou said. But she’s sure to tell her students not to give up.
“Keep believing in yourself,” Antoniou said. “You can do it hard work pays off.”
Antoniou said she plans to stay in the classroom until she retires, and hopes to take on more of a mentor role for aspiring teachers.
“This is where I want to be,” Antoniou said.