Author: Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana
Published: Friday, 29 Jan 2021
Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana gives a spotlight to a local educator every month by publishing an in-depth interview about their JA experience.
JA: What grade do you teach & where?
MW: 6th grade Science at Helfrich Park STEM Academy
JA: Are you a Junior Achievement Alum. If so, tell us about your Junior Achievement experience when you were a student.
MW: Unfortunately, no.
JA: How long have you hosted Junior Achievement programs in your classroom?
MW: I believe this is year 4.
JA: Why did you initially choose to have Junior Achievement programs in your classroom?
MW: Junior Achievement was suggested to me by a company that had previously partnered with my
classroom for an engineering project. The entrepreneurial skills the students learn in the
JA classes are beneficial to students as they pitch their engineering ideas to local
dignitaries at the end of the engineering project.
JA: What do you enjoy most about having Junior Achievement programs taught to your students?
MW: As a classroom teacher, I really enjoy providing my students with quality instruction that
will help enhance their life beyond my classroom. Junior Achievement classes do just
that. Through JA's course, "It’s My Business", students learn way beyond what it means to be an
entrepreneur. They are learning negotiation skills, working with a team, meeting
deadlines, presentation skills, and beyond.
JA: What reason would you give to another educator on why they should have Junior Achievement programs in their classroom?
MW: Students deserve and desire to be wholly educated. As a science educator, I believe it is my civic
duty to help promote reading, writing, math, and life skills. I am not just a science
teacher. Junior Achievement classes are a great way to help educate the child
with JA's fantastic curriculum selection.
JA: How do you feel JA relates to what you teach in the classroom?
MW: In the "It's My Business" class, the design thinking process is very similar to the scientific
method. Also, this class allows me to pull in my engineering standards with ease.
JA: What value do you feel a JA volunteer provides to you and your students?
MW: The students really enjoy having a new face and now voice to listen to. The students get
excited when it is a JA day and are extra well behaved because they don’t want to miss
anything. The JA volunteers provide me, an educator, an easy and safe way to connect
students with local professionals and expand their knowledge of career choices.
JA: What is one of your favorite JA moments?
MW: My favorite JA moments are seeing the quick bond the students and volunteers make.
The students are eager to seek approval from the volunteer and the volunteer is
genuinely excited to hear and see their ideas. It makes this teacher's heart happy!
JA: In what ways has the pandemic changed how JA programs are being taught in your classroom?
MW: With each day are a new set of challenges in life to embrace, we can stop and feel sorry
for ourselves or we can find solutions. To say this school year has been challenging
would be a total understatement, but I will never stop fighting for my students and
providing them opportunities they deserve. The two JA volunteers that have partnered
with my classroom are totally amazing. They are hosting a virtual meeting and joining
my class remotely. Are there obstacles? Absolutely! Did the first day sound like they were
presenting underwater while scuba diving? Yes, absolutely. With each class period we have
made minor adjustments and each lesson is better than the last. I am so grateful that I
live and work in a community that is willing to go far above and beyond the call of duty
to provide meaningful and quality education to our future.