Lisa Paixao completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Mount Holyoke in 2008, with a minor in educational studies. While Lisa has always been aware of her love of learning and connection to children, she took a moment to “try on” other hats of life. As an undergraduate, she spent each semester working with various professors on collaborative research projects, most notably her on-site independent research focusing on novice teachers learning to teach in postapartheid South Africa. After graduation, Lisa moved to Boston, where she worked as a research analyst doing corporate market research.
She quickly realized her love of research was tied to the content under investigation and was much less about the general implementation of research investigation. Lisa quickly identified the disconnect she felt within this career trajectory and soon realized her core passion was education itself.
In order to make a career transition back into education, she began working as a substitute teacher. During this time, she investigated which age groups and content areas she felt most passionate about and engaged with. Once again, the outcome of this discovery was quite a bit of a surprise.
Says Lisa, “I assumed I would gravitate toward high school students. But once delving into the classroom experience, I found myself drawn to the students' lack of engagement with content, due to a) a disconnect in relevance to one’s own life and b) a practiced mutual exclusivity to each content area. During my time subbing, I found my most fulfilling and rewarding days were spent within the elementary classrooms. Within the structure of this space, I was allowed to draw upon my knowledge of this developmental age, but also incorporate and intertwine the use and ideas of multiple subjects.”