Educator Spotlight of the Month: September 2021


Image caption: September 2021 Spotlight: Ryan Erny

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?

RE: I taught 4th grade for 17 years at Ireland Elementary School.  I was the Principal of 5th Street Elementary School for 3 years and I am currently the Assistant Principal of Jasper Elementary School.

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

RE: I remember working with Junior Achievement when I was in high school.  I remember being able to work with other students.  

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

RE: As a 4th grade teacher I hosted Junior Achievement for more than 10 years.  As Principal of 5th Street we had the Junior Achievement  program for 3 years and we are in our 2nd year of hosting Junior Achievement

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

RE: When we were approached about having the Junior Achievement program I felt that this could be a good opportunity for students to get some real life learning experiences.

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

RE: I love the fact that we are able to bring community members into the schools to work with our students.   The Junior Achievement programs help our students learn real life skills in a fun way.  The discussions that our older students are able to have with the presenters really help deepen the scope of the learning taking place.

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

RE: I would share with them that the Junior Achievement programs will  help their students learn real life skills in a fun way.  The discussions that our students are able to have with the presenters really help deepen the scope of the learning taking place.  Community involvement is also an important factor to have JA in the classroom.

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

RE: I really like the fact that the students work together during this program.  Being a Leader in Me school we are always talking about leadership and working together to solve problems.   I love to see the collaboration that takes place during the lessons.

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

RE: Community involvement is so important.  They provide another voice that is heard in the classroom and they share experiences that they have had.  As they move through the program, they are able to have those conversations about real life situations that may occur.

JA: What is one of your favorite JA moments?

RE: I have always enjoyed the collaborative efforts of the students.

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

RE: With the switch to virtual, you lose that human connection when the volunteers are in front of the kids.  I am hoping that we are able to return to the in-person visits.  One thing the pandemic has taught us is that we have to improvise to continue to meet the needs of our students.

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