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Educator Spotlight of the Month: November 2021


Image caption: November 2021 Spotlight: Eric Yoder

JA: What grade do you teach & where?

EY: I teach fourth-grade Science and Social Studies at Barr-Reeve Elementary.

JA: Are you a Junior Achievement Alum.  If so, tell us about your Junior Achievement experience when you were a student.

EY: I do not recall being in a Junior Achievement program when I was in school.

JA: How long have you hosted Junior Achievement programs in your classroom/school?

EY: I have hosted JA programs in my classroom since I became a  fourth-grade teacher at Barr-Reeve Elementary.  This will be my fifth year hosting a Junior Achievement program.

JA: Why did you initially choose to have Junior Achievement programs in your classroom/school?

EY: I am continuing the Junior Achievement program for our school.  Our school was hosting Junior Achievement programs before I became a fourth-grade teacher.  I did not start the program here at our school, but I am happy to be a part of continuing the program here at Barr-Reeve Elementary.

JA: What do you enjoy most about having Junior Achievement programs taught to your students?

EY: I really enjoy the exposure that students have to real-world businesses and experiences.  I don’t think that students often realize all of the action that happens behind the scenes of a fully functioning business.  Junior Achievement gives students the opportunity to realize this and to learn more about it.

JA: What reason would you give to another educator on why they should have Junior Achievement programs in their classroom/school?

EY: Junior Achievement does a great job of connecting the school to the real world.  Students get the opportunity to see the different ways in which the material they are learning about is used to solve real-world problems.  I also feel that it is beneficial for students to be exposed to different career fields.  The elementary level is a great time for students to start thinking about different careers that they might be interested in.

JA: How do you feel JA relates to what you/other educators teach in the classroom?

EY: I feel that Junior Achievement relates well to different topics in Social Studies.  It relates to what it takes to have a successful community and how individuals play a big role in that.  Students can also get reinforcement on different topics that they have learned in Math class.  Students will get to learn about the financial side of businesses.  During the Junior Achievement program, students will also work on their reading skills as many non-fiction articles are used throughout the course.

JA: What value do you feel a JA volunteer provides you and your students?

EY: The value that I feel a Junior Achievement volunteer provides is an opportunity for students to hear from someone in their community.  This can make a big impact on students.  Students can hear about actual experiences from someone with firsthand experience.  From my experience, students really enjoy connecting with these volunteers.

JA: What is one of your favorite JA moments?

EY: Some of my favorite Junior Achievement moments are the different times that students play the games or interact with each other.  I think that this is a great way for students to understand some of the difficulties that come along with running a business.  Students can sometimes think that it is something that happens very easily, but these activities help students to realize that it takes hard work and problem-solving skills to be successful.

JA: In what ways has the pandemic changed how JA is being taught in your classroom/school?

EY: The pandemic has made it a little bit more difficult to connect with Junior Achievement volunteers.  Some schools have limitations on who is allowed to come into the classroom and some volunteers may have some hesitancy on whether or not they would like to come into the classroom setting.  I really enjoy when students are able to get to know and learn from community volunteers.  However, it is still possible for students to have a positive Junior Achievement experience even if it may look a little different than in the past.

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