“Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.”
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th president of the United States, offered this declaration decades ago and it still rings true today. Beyond all the challenges, regulations, standards and political rhetoric, education is an incredible privilege.
It is more than mandatory attendance for students and more than state and national standards that teachers feel pressured to meet. Education is not a life sentence; it is a lifetime benefit.
Mandatory does not have to mean boring. So, let’s not allow ideas of what we “must do” overwhelm our natural desires to learn and to teach. Education is good for us and it is something we all can enjoy.
Adults can help students make the connection between what they must learn in class and what they need (and want) to know in order to be successful in whatever they choose to do with their lives.
Teachers, parents, and mentors who lead from their hearts make a real difference. And, they need inspiration too! The demands of teaching take a toll — even on the most highly motivated professionals.
In Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley, WVIA Public Media provides free local resources, as well as a wealth of materials available online through PBS Learning Media, to help educators connect academics and life experience. It is an honor to work with Andrea O’Neill, WVIA’s director of education, who is enthusiastic in her commitment to supporting teachers in the region.
Working alone can be exhausting. Using public media resources and gathering with fellow educators, in person and online, can help to breathe fresh life into lesson plans — even when teaching ancient history!
For example, the first episode of the new Working Class public media initiative – a partnership of WVIA and Pennsylvania College of Technology – takes viewers from the Renaissance era (Leonardo Da Vinci) through modern-day 3-D printing. Online video and links to academic resources provide students, teachers, and parents with a wide variety of activities to encourage independent and classroom learning.
The Working Class website helps teachers sort through a wide array of online resources by recommending links to activities prepared by respected organizations including government agencies, colleges and universities, and renowned museums.
WVIA’s Andrea O’Neill and I met with a group of inspired educators during a Working Class: Promoting Classroom and Career Connections workshop at WVIA Public Media studios in April 2015. In addition to securing free videos and lesson plans, the teachers had a rare opportunity to connect with peers who shared similar challenges and desires to enhance their teaching/learning experiences.
Penn College and WVIA Public Media would like to thank all who attended the 2015 workshop: Jim Ahern, Barb Lutat and Mike Modrovski, Honesdale High School; Greg Dolhon, North Pocono High School; David Falbo, John Lehr and Mark Vaccaro, East Stroudsburg High School; Lorinda Gordon, Monroe County Career & Technical Institute; Susan Kuhl, Luzerne Intermediate Unit; Kyle Linko, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Melissa Ruschak, Pleasant Valley High School; John Shaffer, Tunkhannock High School, and Carrie Westgate, Delaware Valley High School.