February 14, 2012
by: Dollie Cromwell, Journalist
What Elizabeth Marzouki enjoys most about teaching second-graders at ESAA is their enthusiasm for learning.
“Second-grade students want to learn about ‘important stuff’ in the world and are capable of doing this, if guided,” she said. “I love watching them switch from learning to read to reading to learn!”
Elizabeth has had a lifelong interest in learning, and pursuing teaching was her way of sharing this love with others and helping students of all ages tap into the excitement of learning.
“I love team teaching and planning with the exceptionally skilled and dedicated staff,” she said of her work at ESAA.
Elizabeth has been in the Sheboygan Area School District for 14 years and has taught at ELC, Longfellow, South and Grant in addition to ESAA. She also taught early childhood through adult students in North Carolina and in France before coming to Sheboygan.
While teaching English in France, Elizabeth lived in a one-room apartment in a tower on an island in Creil. That will likely sound quite exotic and fun to her students, but there was a catch: no television or telephone. These days, most young people can’t fathom life without electronics and a wireless connection, but Elizabeth fondly recalls her time in France.
She received her undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She holds a master’s degree in reading from Cardinal Stritch University and also spent two summers participating in Harvard University’s Project Zero with her ESAA colleagues.
Project Zero was founded by philosopher Nelson Goodman at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1967. The aim of the project is to improve education through the arts. “Goodman believed that arts learning should be studied as a serious cognitive activity, but that zero had been firmly established about the field; hence, the project was given its name,” according to the project Web site.
“For me, it was full circle,” Elizabeth said of her experience at Harvard, “meeting people from around the world who are on the cutting edge of educational practices. It was very exciting! We continue to share best practices with our connections made at Project Zero.”
Working with children is very rewarding for this educator who enjoys the collaborative process of project-based learning.
“One year, we turned the classroom into a medieval feast and served Cornish hens and authentic medieval foods. The kids wrote scripts and entertained the diners,” she recalled. “We built sets, composed music and made costumes. The whole process (with project-based learning) is child-directed, and the collaboration is outstanding.”
Outside the classroom, Elizabeth enjoys camping, traveling, reading and gardening. She is also a proud mother of three.
Her son, Dr. Matthew Harmelink, and his wife, Dr. Erica Chou, are both pediatricians. Her daughter, Katherine Harmelink, and husband Jon Roth live in Madison, where Katherine is completing her degree in animal science and working at the UW-Madison large animal vet hospital. Elizabeth’s youngest son, Christopher Marzouki, is 16 and an avid cyclist and runner.