Faculty Feature: Mrs. Deborah Zisa

By Student Reporters Dylan L. & Stephen F.

1 When and why did you decide to be an educator? Was there something or someone that influenced your decision to teach?

I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten because ever since I could remember it’s what I wanted to do. No one influenced my decision to teach, but I had teachers influence how I teach.

2.  What was your journey like to becoming an educator? Were there any struggles that held you back?

I loved my college experience and had no problems academically. I took honors classes in college; I loved to learn. The more I learned the better I felt. I’m certified to teach math and science (k-12). No struggles that held me back and all good experiences all around.

3.  What was your initial thought or feeling after our first day within the classroom?

I was overwhelmed, nervous and I couldn’t let the kids know that. Just out of college and standing up in front of the room and it’s a very serious and important role a teacher has. What I do can affect someone else’s life positively or negatively. 

4.  Was it difficult changing positions from a student to a teacher? How does it feel knowing you have that teacher role giving you the power?

Something I always looked forward to and I had a positive outlook towards it. I never considered teaching as a power trip and unfortunately a lot of teachers do. I treat students with the same respect I expect from them.

5.  After teaching for a long time, what continues to motivate you to keep you coming back the next day? How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 33 years and this is my 34th year. Successful students and I know that what I’m doing is positively impacting young people. I love coming to work and I love my job, I never got burnt out from teaching for a number of years.

6.  What is in your opinion the most important part of your job? Why?

The most important part of my job is that students understand what I’m teaching. I know the stuff and I get it, what’s the point if they don’t get it and know the information. 

7.  What is your favorite part of the job? Why?

My favorite part of the job is interacting with young people everyday. I hope that I’m a good role model and that I’m making a difference in the world of the few students I have and that I make a positive difference in someone’s life, either academically or personally.

8. Do you have any goals for the future? Why do you want to achieve or accomplish these goals?

I have already retired from public school. I want to teach for as long as I’m able to, I enjoy it everyday.

9. What is the worst part of the job, if any? Why?

The worst part of my job is paperwork and I can’t stand it because I have to fill out reports, grade papers, grade tests, etc., but I do it on time.

10. Are you proud of your role in the world? Do you think your profession is a key factor to our future generations?

All I could say is absolutely and going to school everyday knowing I did an excellent job; it’s a good feeling to do that.

11. What does being an educator do for you? Are there any benefits you say are emotionally fulfilling?

I feel that I was given a gift to teach, manage classes for young people, and to be able to teach them what I need to. I feel good and it’s fulfilling to me in every way that I’m doing an excellent job. 

12.  What aspect of educational subjects (math, English, science) do you prefer to teach? Why?

I prefer math. I was a biology major in college and I swore that I never would do math. But, I love pre-calculus the most. 

13. Even though you teach your students educational material, have or do they ever teach you something? If so, is it something you are thankful for learning?

I grew up in an environment with people just like me. When I started teaching it opened up my eyes and I really saw diversity and what makes up our world and I’m thankful for learning all of that. Everyone should understand how different people can be and accepting of it.

14.  Do you have any fears relating to your job teaching? If so, what and why?

I don’t really have a lot of fears. But, I think students getting too attached to me and my personal life, there has to be a line that’s drawn is a fear and where that line is and am I stepping over it. For example, do I add students on Facebook?

15. Do you see any areas of the education system needing improvement?

As a teacher, I may have some opinions about some of the state testing, but I don’t feel I have the authority to criticize. 

16.  Where do you see yourself in five years? How about ten years?

Right here at Sage Day, continuing to be a role model and helping students being successful with pride and confidence. It’s hard to say what I’ll be doing in ten years, but the way I feel now, I’ll still be involved in education.

17.  Do you enjoy teaching in an environment such as Sage even though it is a therapeutic environment? Being in a therapeutic school, do you experience any difficulties more than a traditional high school? If so, why and how?

I do enjoy teaching here, there are many similarities to public school, the education aspect of it. I find the students here are actually able to accomplish more in a smaller environment rather than a bigger one. I feel that my caring personality is good for a therapeutic school. I really haven’t had any difficulties, this school supplies the support that the students need and I feel safe and taken care of.