JA needs teachers for talks to classes

Posted Nov. 12, 2008, at 6:14 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 5:54 a.m.

Area teachers of pupils from second grade to senior high are seeking business volunteers to help deliver Junior Achievement courses on basic economics to their students.

While requests for classroom delivery have increased and course materials are readily available, the supply of business volunteers is way short of what’s needed.

Terry Jacobs of WorkSource Staffing and co-chairman of the Bangor Region Junior Achievement board said the “recent explosion” in teacher requests for Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Hampden, Levant, Holden, Carmel and Veazie “is brought on by the concern teachers have for the lack of regular school curriculum focused on basic economics and fundamental money skills.”

In contrast, the Junior Achievement course materials are designed for business and professional volunteers to deliver in the classroom. The materials correlate well with the Maine Learning Results system, Jacobs said.

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“Our purpose is to educate and inspire young people to succeed in a global economy in order to improve the quality of their lives,” Jacobs said. “The highly interactive Junior Achievement curriculum stresses the relevance of education to the workplace and helps prepare students for lifelong learning.”

The business volunteer presents the program, interacting with the students in the classroom. All necessary materials and lesson plans are provided, as well as a program guide. An orientation session is conducted for all new volunteers and teachers. Volunteers make six weekly visits, usually about 45 minutes each, at the elementary level.

Currently, some 50 business and professional volunteers are attempting to respond to more than 120 teacher requests.

Helen Pennington of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce has been teaching “Our Region” at the fourth-grade level in Brewer. That segment helps students recognize that the United States is divided into regions, some based on time zone, others based on geographic area or on products that are produced there.

The coursework focuses on the local region and the goods and services produced there. The students learn about natural, capital and human resources, and pick a business of their own to run.

Pennington then helps the students pick the appropriate region for their business, so that the resources they need will be readily available. With the maps and activities that Junior Achievement supplies it is easy to keep the students excited about the topic, Pennington said.

“Being in the classroom is rejuvenating. The students are so full of life and are willing to learn. It becomes as much fun for the volunteer as it is for the students to have a new face in the classroom,” she said. She believes that the lesson plans are well thought out and easy to teach. “Junior Achievement makes the whole volunteer process very easy.”

Tess Mairhuber of Bangor Payroll, a division of Bangor Savings Bank, has taught “Our City” at the third-grade level in Brewer for the past two years. That segment helps students recognize that a city is a place where people live, work, play and go to school. They become aware of the importance of city planning to the economic development of a city.

Students examine the role of a carpenter and learn about jobs within the construction business. They examine the role of a restaurant owner and become aware of the many people needed to operate a restaurant successfully.

They identify the difference between a consumer and a producer. Students examine the role of a newspaper reporter and the purpose of a newspaper as a communication tool for people in a city. Finally, they become aware of jobs within a bank and examine why banks are important to a city.

“Being in the classroom with plenty of well-prepared materials is a blast,” Mairhuber said. “The students are anxious to learn and they are so bright and polite. Their enthusiasm for the topics is both stimulating and refreshing. Junior Achievement really does a great job of getting volunteers ready for the classroom with excellent materials and discussion guides.”

Those interested in learning more about the classes or course materials may call Terry Jacobs, WorkSource Staffing, 947-7541; Tracy King, Camden National Bank, 942-5263, ext. 4319; or Mary Ann Johnson, Modern Woodmen of America, 989-2210.

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