Skip to main content

Why I Chose a Career in Education

There are many moments where I am reminded why I chose a career in education. These moments arise when I am engaged in conversation with other teachers, conducting professional development workshops, developing new lessons, or simply reading about changes and latest developments in the field. Education is a dynamic field, and it has provided me with many opportunities to positively impact the lives of young learners as well as provide inspiration and support to new teachers. One such occasion occurred in mid-April when I was invited by Dr. Rosalinda Quintanar to conduct a presentation to students in a class entitled Meeting the Needs of Second-Language Learners (EDTE 162), a course within San Jose State University’s Teacher Education Department and a credential requirement. The class consisted of approximately 30 credential candidates, and its primary focus is applying theory and practical classroom techniques for providing equitable access to content for English language learners.

The purpose of my presentation was to provide an overview of RAFT and the resources and support it makes available to educators working in a variety of teaching environments. The students were intrigued by the unique materials available to RAFT through the generous support of its donors that are used in activity kits and design challenges in RAFT’s vast library of resources. I presented a variety of RAFT activities including Hovercrafts and Gravity Defying Frog to illustrate how materials can be used creatively for teaching specific content as well as demonstrating different strategies for facilitating the activities with students in multiple grades. What amazed me about this group of potential teachers was their ability to brainstorm ways of maximizing student engagement and promoting equitable learning experiences. These are skills that even veteran teachers continue to improve over time, so I believe these students have a substantial head start in making improvements to the quality of education!

Visiting this class was a point of pride for me not only because I am an SJSU alumnus but also because it highlights the current need for additional materials, kits, and other supporting resources to address the issue of equity in the classroom and to foster the development of student-centered learning environments. This experience reiterated the importance of the work that RAFT has been doing for nearly 25 years, inspiring the joy and love of learning through hands-on education. It brings to light the need to include the issue of equity as a critical consideration in the learning experiences we design as educators.

My engagement with the university community described above was an outstanding experience, and it is equally beneficial that we continue to engage and learn from our members. We encourage you to help facilitate this engagement by reaching out, scheduling time with our education staff, and determine more about how to leverage our activity kits to address a variety of curriculum topics while also facilitating equitable learning experiences that reach more students. If you have a lesson or unit that you would like to share and that you believe could be enhanced using RAFT activities and materials, we are eager to help!

By Eric Welker - RAFT Education Developer & Coach 


Popular posts from this blog

Are you ready for Pi?

Time to get ready fer Pi Day at RAFT me hearties!  Set yer compasses an’ sails fer FREE Pi Day activities on March 8thbetween 3:30 to 5:30 on th’ main poop deck (aye-aye in th’ “Kit Area”) at SJ RAFT!
RAFT’s very own notorious wench, Jeanne Lazzarini (RAFT Math Master Educator), prepared a boatload of Pi Day activities to share with yer classes fer Pi Day (celebrated on March 14th every year)! Pi, (also written as π; th’ ratio of th’ circumference of a circle to its diameter) be an irrational number that goes on forever without any repeating digits, starting with 3.14159… π is illustriously celebrated over land an’ high seas March 14th (get it? On 3.14…!).    Discover great “make-an’-take” Pi day activities that prepare ye fer real Pi day!  Here’s a RAFT idea sheet fer Pi Day you can use now: Pi Day Pin. Make sure X marks th’ spot on ye calendars this March 8th, or walk th’ plank me scallywags!   Shiver me timbers an’ yo-ho-ho!  ‘Tis a RAFTy life fer me, Bucko!!!  Arrrgggghhhhh!

¡Olé! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

¡Olémis amigos! Holy Guacamole! It’s once again time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo—the 5th of May! Instead of all the controversy around Mexico in the past year, this may be an excellent opportunity to educate your students and allow them to ask questions about what they hear on the news. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (which is September 16th)! “¡Ay, caramba!”as Bart Simpson would say….

This is “la verdad” (the truth): when the French invaded Mexico in 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza’s force of 4,000 soldiers defeated 8,000 French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The Mexicans’ courage inspired Mexican Americans (Chicanos) to celebrate the victory even though the French occupation continued four more years. Later in the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicanos involved in the civil rights movement associated Cinco de Mayo with their quest for respect in the U.S. They identified with the Native Mexican and Mestizo (people of mixed Native Mexican and European de…

Use the Winter Olympics to engage your students

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are right around the corner!
This worldwide event offers excellent opportunities to use the Olympics to inspire your students to learn about many mathematical concepts such as slope. How can the Olympics help students understand slope? Think of ski slopes! Ask students to watch the Olympics this year on TV and to look for sports that use steep paths (e.g., snowboarding, downhill skiing, alpine skiing, bobsleighing, etc.)! Back in class, have students recreate replica “ski slopes” using sections of white foam board. Place one end of a foam board against a wall with the opposite end touching the floor at an angle so that it forms the hypotenuse of a right triangle (the right angle is between the wall and the floor). Refer to the vertical distance (“rise”) from the floor to where the top edge of the board touches the wall as the y-intercept. Refer to the horizontal distance (“run”) starting at the wall and to the bottom of the board farthest away from t…