Elizabeth A Hartley, Ph.D.
- Ph.D. - University of Colorado, Boulder
- M. A. - University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
- B.A. - College of Santa Fe
Why did you become a teacher? I wanted be an actress but I couldn’t make enough money. Then I realized that teaching is tremendously similar to acting and I had a captive audience.
What was your pathway to becoming a teacher? Really, I was going to be a Spanish translator but then there was a Title VII bilingual education teacher certification scholarship for which I was encouraged to apply and which I received. It was a great decision. My Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, and lifelong teaching experiences have all been in this field with the intent of creating equitable learning environments for culturally and linguistically diverse students. It has been the perfect platform to advocate for equity and access for non or limited English speakers in a system that is often stacked against their success.
What was your favorite teachable moment in a classroom? There have been many, but I am remembering a time when two of my energetic third graders brought in a jar with a nest of black-widows that they had found under an old cement block in a nearby field during their explorations. They plopped the jar on my desk and cheerily said “look what we found, Miss Hartley!” Upon picking up the jar and realizing what it contained, I gingerly placed the jar back on the desk, making sure the lid was very tightly secured and, using my best calm face and interested voice (skills learned through my vast theatrical training), turned toward the class and said, “Oh, look! It’s a jar of black widow spiders.” There was a rush of excited and curious students up to the desk to examine these spiders as close and as safely as they might ever. After organizing the viewing and pulling out my, now favorite, book “Spiders are Spinners” for a shared reading and discussion about spiders, I promptly called the janitor and asked him to destroy the poisonous little beings in the jar which he then took and drowned. (Admittedly, I did feel a little bad.) Later I called the boy’s parents to apprise them of the situation. One of the boy’s dads had gotten bit mysteriously the night prior. Now he knew the source!
What is something surprising about the teaching profession that others might not know? Everything! Be quick on your feet and expect the unexpected. It is said that Teachers make more on the spot decisions per minute than almost any other profession (except air traffic controllers)! Don’t let anything deter you from taking that afternoon nap when you get home!
What do you love about the UAS School of Education? We have a true commitment to excellence in teacher preparation. We have amazing, knowledgeable, and talented faculty and staff supporting this mission. I strongly believe in the value and quality of the learning opportunities that we offer our candidates.