Author Archives: Deb Porcarelli

Second Career Teachers are Awesome!

Being a teacher is rewarding, and hard work, and an amazingly rewarding profession. Teachers play a hands-on part in the future. Do you know anyone who decided to become a teacher, but after having had a professional career in a different field? I have spent some time talking to individuals who are now teachers and are also in a second career. Their stories intrigue me.

I recently met a former nurse, a former soldier, a former accountant, and someone who was formerly in retail sales, but all of these people chose to change careers and become teachers. They all have individual reasons for changing careers, but it is the passion for knowledge, for teaching, and the great work ethic they bring with to teaching that I heard echoed in their stories. That is what I love.

At AIMS we are so very lucky to have a second career colleague as a member of our National Cadre of Facilitators. Donna Barton is a Florida educator who we found through our national search for workshop Facilitators in 2016. She was one of the 10 invited to join our team (out of 189 applicants). Donna’s first career lasted over two decades. But still, she had a yearning to teach. So, at a nontraditional age she went back to university life and immersed herself in a pre-service teacher education program. Success!! Donna now teaches with passion and has a zest for excellence. Donna uses AIMS math and science tasks in her classroom and knows the power of building strong content knowledge through a conceptual approach, with hands-on manipulatives for understanding. We at the AIMS Center believe she is a wonderful asset to our National Cadre of Facilitators.

Donna constantly gives back to the profession; she is involved and volunteers at the local and state levels. Once again, AIMS is lucky to have her. Teachers are their own best advocates. I hope when you hear of someone who is considering the teaching profession for a first or second career, that you will spend some time encouraging and even mentoring them. After all…  teaching is cool!

Science Happens

Contrary to what most teachers might say, I think it is easy to teach science every day in the classroom. Yes, it may be a subject that gets loud and sometimes messy in your classroom, but just the same as needing to learn to be a lifelong reader or mathematician, the same goes for science.… Continue Reading

Don’t Forget The Students

Here are my thoughts for today. I want to challenge every reader to be opportunistic and see what is right and bright in education. We educators have a daily view from within our schools and classrooms, and that is where we have the opportunity to shine – to make differences that matter. I challenge you… Continue Reading

Good Mentors

I have been spending time with each of the AIMS facilitators that are members of our national cadre. I have talked with each of them virtually via a Google Hangout as a way of checking in to review the previous year. I have come away from each virtual meeting inspired. I am privileged to know… Continue Reading

Professional Learning with an Online PLC

Teachers must spend time collaborating, sharing experiences, and reflecting about what they are learning to assure deep, rich professional growth. Those who participate in long-term professional learning projects participate in and establish ways to collaborate, share, and reflect when meeting face to face. Equally important, are effective ways to do the same when some of… Continue Reading

Finding My Home

I am inspired to search out new ways to improve the Professional Learning Division at The AIMS Center. I continually think about teachers in North America and how dedicated, unselfish, and committed they are to the students they teach. At AIMS, we want to provide opportunities to assist classroom teachers to be their very best.… Continue Reading

Finding Your Niche

We all seem to find our niche in education. We gravitate towards our passions and strengths. I am fortunate to have Debra Mueller as a colleague.  She is an AIMS Facilitator who has found her niche by really knowing about the needs of, and how to help, English Language Learners (ELL) be successful in the… Continue Reading

Who is your NGSS Expert?

I remember the first time I met AIMS Facilitator Sandee Vossler. It was 1995 and we were in Fresno, CA to attend Professional Learning opportunities offered at the AIMS Educational Foundation. Sandee and I immediately gravitated toward each other because we shared similar professional experiences, we both taught intermediate grades in small rural Montana schools.… Continue Reading