BERWYN, Ill. — WGN’s Teacher of the Month for November is always on the move and she’s motivating her fifth-grade students in Berwyn.
She is driven by faith, family and work; all lessons she learned from her mother.
Liz Abrantes is a teacher at Prairie Oak Elementary School.
She wants every student to be empowered to use their voice.
“I feel like kids are amazing if we let them be,” Abrantes said. “If they run the show, they’re going to surprise us. If we run the show, we’re going to miss out.
Ms. Abrantes is in her 19th year at the school. It’s her second career.
“I was in the business world prior to this,” she said. “I was an HR manager.”
But teaching is her first love.
“For me, it doesn’t feel like work,” Abrantes said. “I don’t set an alarm in the morning. This does not feel like a job. It feels like I get to do this. I’m so lucky I get to do this.”
And she’s always on the go, moving around the classroom at a dizzying pace.
“She has a lot of energy and I also have a lot of energy so that’s something I like about her,” her student Camaryaha Earl said.
The 10-year-old nominated her for teacher of the month.
“Ms. Abrantes, she inspires others to kind of like push themselves harder and she also helps us whenever we need her,” Earl said. “She’s there for us.”
Yvonne Apigo with award sponsor Ankin Law presented her with a $1,000 check for the school.
“It’s really for everybody,” she said.
She said she represents only a fraction of the school’s amazing team of educators working hard to inspire students.
She’s inspired by her mother who recently died. Her mom was also a teacher in Portugal and touched many lives.
“She was everything to me,” Abrantes said. “I’m so grateful that I get to honor her memory though this and through continuing to teach and giving it all to my kids every day. And I guess that’s what gets me moving around the classroom giving it all. Like I’m here to give it all to my kids.”