About Citizen Teacher

My name is lisa eddy. I began teaching public high school English Language Arts classes at a small city in SE lower Michigan in 1994. I teach courses in ELA9 Honors, IB Literature 11, ELA12, Theory of Knowledge, Writer’s Workshop, and Mythology. I have taught Public Speaking, Drama, Reader’s Workshop, ELA10 Honors, American Literature and Composition.

Outside the classroom, at camps and workshops, I’ve taught courses in cooking; swimming; canoeing; campfire cooking; ceremony-making; mandalas and medicine wheels; music appreciation; local plants and animals; wellness and self-care; meditation, mindful movement, and mindfulness.

In my work as a high school teacher, mentor, coach, and researcher, I strive to embody the disposition of a “citizen teacher,” as described by Todd DeStigter, in his 2001 NCTE book, Reflections of a Citizen Teacher: Literacy, Democracy, and the Forgotten Students of Addison High as an educator who is “dedicated to fostering in all students the ability to envision, create, and participate in a more humane and democratic society.”

This blog will explore the question,

“What does it mean (to me) to be a Citizen Teacher?”

Part of what it means for me to be a citizen teacher is that I am sustained and nurtured by being an active member in professional organizations and an active participant in the public conversation about education.


@ Hollerfest 2018: 3 Generations of teacher-student. On the left is Cathy Fleischer, my undergrad English Methods teacher, mentor, and friend. I’m in the middle, and to my right is Matt Jones, my American Literature/Comp student–from the class of 1996–who is studying History at EMU. At the festival, I served as manager of Merchandise; Cathy and her husband volunteered in Merch; and Matt was there to play drums with Misty Lin & the Big Beautiful.  It was a magic moment!


Professional Development

Professional development organizations that provide me with the training I need to accomplish this goal and sustain me in this work are The Leopold Education Project (LEP), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), Michigan Reading Association (MRA) and The National Writing Project (NWP), the national organization of which my local organization, Eastern Michigan Writing Projectt (EMWP), is a part.

LEP gave me the training I needed to bring the concept of the land ethic to my work in English Language Arts. LEP is founded on the work of Aldo Leopold, one of the forefathers of conservation on several fronts: in practice, policy, education, and outreach. The LEP Mission Statement articulates Leopold’s vision: “The mission of the Leopold Education Project is to create an ecologically literate citizenry so that each individual might develop a personal land ethic.” In 1998, I attended my first LEP educator workshop and implemented my 1st LEP lesson, a writing activity that asked students to write about a portion of history through the perspective of a plant. Within a few years, I had fused LEP principles with my American Literature course to write a fully integrated, place-based/project-based American Literature course (2006) that engages students in outdoor research and writing for a real audience beyond the classroom. Since 1999, I have facilitated LEP educator workshops locally, sponsored by the Lenawee Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter and by the Adrian Dominican Sisters; in Bowling Green, Ohio, for the Wood-Lucas PF chapter; and at the National Workshop at LEP HQ in Baraboo, Wisconsin. In 2003, my article, “Literature, Language and Land: LEP in High School English” was published in the LEP publication, Strides, paired with an essay titled “My Land Ethic,” by my student, Kelsey Jacobs.

NWP gave me the training I needed to be an effective teacher of THINKING AND WRITING. I have participated in 2 NWP Summer workshops. In 1999, I participated in a local teacher workshop, taught by Dick Koch, faculty at Adrian College. Dick is a part of the Oakland Writing Project. Our work focused on the Teacher as Writer, and I expanded my “teacher toolbox” in writing with my students.

In 2002, I participated in the EMWP Invitational Summer Institute. Our work together was intense and multi-facted: Teacher as Writer, Teacher as Researcher, and Teacher as Consultant. From this, I grew in my competence and confidence as a contributor to the Professional Development conversation on literacy. Through my involvement with NWP, I have developed my expertise as a consultant and workshop presenter in Collaborative Assessment; Family Literacy; Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing to Learn; Land Ethic in Language Arts; Place-Based Multi-Genre Writing Projects; Teacher Research; Cultural Competence; Teacher Advocacy; 1st Amendment Rights and Civil Discourse, in the Classroom; Writer’s and Reader’s Workshop in high school ELA; Interdisciplinary Units: Land Ethic; and Wellness, Mindfulness, and Self-Care in the ELA Classroom. As a NWP teacher consultant, I have facilitated workshops in Ann Arbor Public Schools, Lincoln Consolidated Public Schools, and in my home district.

Since 2002, I have been a part of the EMWP Teacher Researcher Group. This professional learning community provides a workshop/support community for group members’ work as researchers and writers in English education. This prestigious group is home to many leaders in the field. You can find group members in the pages of English Journal,  Language Arts Journal of Michigan (LAJM) and in many NCTE and Heinneman books, as well as in Professional Development and Community Literacy workshops in their home communities, around the state, and on the national scene.

NCTE gives me up-to-date nourishment for my profession, through emails, publications, and annual conventions. November 2015 marked my 3rd time presenting at the national convention. NCTE conventions and other resources are invaluable assets in lesson planning, classroom practice, and advocacy for our profession.


My work has appeared on the EMWP website, eMuse, and in Strides (an LEP publication), Language Arts Journal of Michigan, Connecticut Reading Association Journal, English Journal, and PMLA, the Modern Language Association Journal

Award Recipient

In 2009, I was honored and humbled to be the recipient of the Adrian Public Schools Education Foundation’s Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award.

“These awards are to recognize teachers, coaches, administrators and support personnel of APS. The Awards Committee may choose to recognize those who demonstrate excellence in teaching, deliver creative and quality instruction or serve as outstanding role models that inspire and motivate students. These awards are intended to recognize and reward those APS employees who go above and beyond the normal expectations and who have significantly and positively changed the lives of students. ” <http://theadrianmaples.com/?idpage=23


7 Responses “About Citizen Teacher” →

  1. Susan Piazza

    April 12, 2011

    Hi –

    Thanks so much for sharing your insights and experiences. I admire your thoughtfulness and responsibility as a citizen teacher. I will be reading the book soon!



  2. Hey-

    Your thoughts truly are amazing I’m glad you have shared your thoughts. You have been an amazing mentor and have earned many students respect, including mine.

    Your student, Jay R.



  3. Shannon Ergun

    January 5, 2018

    Hi, I reached out to you on private message on Facebook this morning but since it will go to your other box, I wanted to reach out here too. You shared the link to this blog on a post I made on BATs. The instructional coach at my school and I would like to work first with our staff in practicing mindfulness before we expand to including students. Could you suggest a couple of things we could do to get started? We have a professional development day in a couple of weeks and are hoping to share with the staff a way to get started for themselves.


    • OMG! I’m so sorry! I never saw this message. I hope you found some resources. I have a ton in the blogs I posted after workshops. Let me know if there’s anything I can do at this point. Again, I apologize for not responding.



  4. Lorenzo Casanova

    January 19, 2019

    hello lisa eddy,

    My name is Lorenzo Casanova and I’m a former student. I attended Adrian High in 2001-2005 and took one of your English classes. I enjoyed the class and continued to write and read new material after your class. I’m a graduate student at Texas A&M University-San Antonio pursuing my degree in English Literature. The Spring 2019 is my first semester and I excited and honored.
    I regularly think of where and when literacy became important concept. I believe entering into your classroom started that fire inside. I want to say, “thank you”. In secondary school and undergraduate program I struggled with writing and analyzing reading material. So,I pursued the degree to learn new skills. I learned new skills and become familiar with a great faculty at TAMUSA.

    Have Fun,
    Lorenzo Casanova


    • Awww! Lorenzo! So good to hear from you! I remember you, and the poem I wrote where I quoted you! LOL! I have it in The Archive. I’d love to hear more about your studies. If you’d like, email me! lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com

      Peace & Love!



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