- Why do we need to know this?
- What am I going to do with this later in life?
- How is this going to help me get a job?
Image credit: http://catechesisinthethirdmillennium.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/786044_bright_idea.jpg
Each month my teachers bring in a variety of guest instructors. Recent guests include alumni, local business leaders, and fellow teachers. Below are some some examples during the month of December:
- On December 13, 2011, Art Coughlin from Nelson-Patterson Insurance Agency in New Milford was a guest speaker in Mrs. Vicari’s Business Strategy classes. Mr. Coughlin spoke to the students about the Insurance Industry, types of business insurance, as well as, what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Additionally, Mr. Coughlin has graciously volunteered to give the students “mock” insurance quotes for their start-up businesses. The students have to research the costs associated with starting a business and are then to ask for a loan as part of a business plan competition.
- On December 15, 2011, Mr. Tusa of the Social Studies Department guest lectured on the history of racism in America in Mrs. DePoto’s AP Language and Composition class. The AP class is studying nonfiction works on a variety of themes this year; Mr. Tusa volunteered to bring a historical perspective to a piece the class was studying by Thomas Jefferson called “Notes from Virginia”. The class was able to trace the history of philosophical movements that impacted some of the earliest writers of our nation and are to see the connection between their ideas and various contemporary figures such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Future collaboration between the Social Studies Department and the Language Arts Department is planned.
- Mr. Thomas Jaworski, an alumnus of New Milford and a professional engineer visited the high school and delivered a presentation on civil engineering on Friday, December 16. His presentation to the engineering class covered many of the fields of civil engineering. He discussed bridge construction in detail, citing local and familiar examples including the George Washington and Tappan Zee bridges. The engineering students responded very well to the presentation and continued the discussion well after the class had ended. Mr. Jaworski offered to assist Dr. Asa-Awuku and Mrs. Bergoffen with developing an activity for “Engineering Week” in February of 2012.
- New Milford High School is obviously a place where students feel safe and comfortable while they are here as our students. This can be seen each year as former students come back to visit, work as substitutes, and in some cases even get hired as teachers. For two days this December, in Mrs. Collentine’s Global Perspectives in Literature Honors classes, NMHS class of 2005 alumnus Jonathan Silver was a “guest” speaker/teacher/actor and taught and performed Shakespeare’s Hamlet for Mrs. Collentine’s students. Jon, who is currently serving as producer and director of this year’s NMHS spring musical, is a professional actor. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Dramatic Performance, Jon was thrilled to teach for two days when Mrs. Collentine asked if he would come into her classes. Jon spent a summer in London studying Shakespeare and even performed on the famous and historical Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts stage. He is a natural and a force to be reckoned with as he brought a palpable passion to Mrs. Collentine’s classes. He discussed why Shakespeare is so challenging for young adults, he gave them techniques in terms of approaching the text, and he logically compared the analysis and reading of Shakespeare to math problems like calculus and trigonometry. His booming voice took on the roles of Hamlet, the Ghost and King Claudius. The kids read with him and he joked and laughed with them as he compared Hamlet’s world to the world of today’s teenager: Britney Spears was mentioned and the word “emo” was as well, along with other 21st century references. As hard as English teachers work to bring any text to life and off the page, there is always a welcome burst of energy when a professional actor comes to town.
- Visiting artist Clifford Smith, a New Milford High School Alumnus, came to share his paintings with students in Ms. Bettini’s class. Smith’s artwork is in exhibits at the Spanierman Galley (NYC), Fashion in the Hamptons (NY), Scott White Contemporary Art Gallery, the Travis Hansson Fine Art Gallery (CA), the Rosenbaum Contemporary Gallery and the Elaine Baker Gallery (NJ). He is known for his paintings of oceans, fields, landscapes, and portraits.
Technology can also greatly assist educators in bringing in a variety of experts from all over the world in virtually every field. Some fantastic free video conferencing tools include Skype and hangouts within Google+. Establish your own unique real world learning experiences within the walls of your school today!
To see other guest instructors that have visited NMHS check out the archive of my monthly Principal's Report.