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As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the... Read more

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Enlightened by the Job (VIDEO)

Electrician 1How many of us love the work we do, are inspired daily to get up and go to work and are energized by our work? To be passionate about what we do for a living is rare and that is unfortunate. Our children need to discover their talents, abilities and interests early in life and learn through exploration and play the many possibilities and opportunities for meaningful work when they leave school. Some will design their own jobs in the future, but first they must be able to imagine, create and put their innovative ideas into practice.

Electrician 3On Wednesday after opera class, Gershon, Perry and Divyanshu, our three electricians, begged to stay in for recess to explore their newly acquired voltmeters. As they spread out to work at a table in the back of the classroom, I simply observed and recorded the independent work session.
The intrigue and inquiry that accompanied measuring the voltage between two points in an electrical circuit was astonishing. The questions, comments and general curiosity for the work affirmed all belief that education must go beyond a textbook and traditional learning to open doors of discovery. And we, as educators, must offer opportunities and provide experiences for our students to find what they love to do.

Electrician 2While putting away their tools and materials to prepare for lunch, I overheard the boys organizing a work session outside of school at one of the boy’s houses. Who knows where this may lead?

When you come to the opera in May, pay particular attention to the lighting. Given the interest we see now in December, I can only imagine what these boys will design and execute for the production.

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Mary Ruth McGinn

About Mary Ruth McGinn

As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the learning experiences and opportunities of students and their families.

Sixteen years ago she had an experience that changed her life and altered her professional path in a profound way. She attended training sessions at The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City, spent nine intense days living the process of creating an original opera and learned how to replicate the experience with her students. She then began creating opera with her students and using the process of creating the opera as a vehicle through which to teach curriculum and life skills. The authentic purpose for learning coupled with the arts provided the perfect stage on which to construct a love for life-long learning.

She currently teaches at Stedwick Elementary School in Montgomery Village, Maryland where she is creating another original opera with her third grade students.

Read more of Mary Ruth’s blog Learning for Real.

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