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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Time for the Teach-In



Every November, schools around the country bring volunteers from their communities into their classrooms to tell kids about what they do in the "real world." This year, the Great American Teach-In takes place on Wednesday. And it's not too late for you to sign up to speak.

Why would you want to do such a thing? We asked Donna Houchen, who spearheads the Hillsborough County effort, for some perspective.

What is the importance of this event every year?

It exposes our students to opportunities. It lets people know what's going on in the community, what the future might hold, what careers and hobbies and skills are out there for them to look at. The second piece of it is, it gives the community the opportunity to come into our schools. Many of us have not been back to an elementary, middle or high school since they were actually in school. ... So it gives them the opportunity to see what's going on in the educational system today.

What do you encourage these people to talk about when they come and speak to classes?

Whatever it is they're passionate about. Often it will be careers. What is their career? What do they do? How do you prepare for it? What are the things they know about? It might be skills or hobbies they have as well. So that they can share all of those with students and have the opportunity to let them know all the details about what's going on in their lives and what the opportunities are for students in the future. As I like to say, How do you know what you want to be when you grow up, when you don't know what there is to be when you grow up?

Why would you want, then, people to talk about hobbies?

Often those hobbies can be important things. Let's talk about rocks and minerals. Let's talk about butterfly collections. Let's talk about some of the things that might be important in the areas in which we live, as well. It may be in voluntarism, and the importance of that and what it's meant to them in their lives. So, certainly as we look at providing well rounded students and members of society, hobbies are certainly one piece of that.

Ready to commit that hour? Contact any local school and ask for the teach-in coordinator. They'll know what to do with you.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:26am]


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