Something from Nothing

Future teachers from MEA college chapters around the state joined forces to help students at a rural elementary school in northwest Michigan turn ordinary bottle caps into a lovely sitting bench for their school campus this spring. Aspiring Educators of MEA led students at Baldwin Elementary School in collecting more than 260 pounds of plastic…

Good Advice

In our “Start of a Journey” series over the past year, you followed Zack Griffin and Brittney Norman through one year in the life of a new educator. Now listen as they share their advice for first-year teachers coming into the profession. Here’s a sampling of their observations: The “e-word” is a hot topic in…

Indoor to Outdoor

Aspiring educators from Michigan State University wanted to connect indoor and outdoor learning spaces with their annual Outreach to Teach service project, held this year at Willow Elementary School in Lansing. Members and officers of MSU’s Aspiring Educators of MEA (AEM) chapter painted a culinary classroom in bright colors and created a community garden and…

Art and Science

In 2011, a Stevenson High School student looking out of his physics classroom window saw potential in a dilapidated structure and started a club to rehabilitate the Livonia school’s long-neglected greenhouse. Although he graduated, the club continues. The 1965 structure has not been used on a daily basis for more than 20 years. The district…

History and Honor

For 30 years, Charlotte High School history teacher John Moran has organized an annual event connecting his students to Vietnam veterans willing to share their stories of war. The roundtable discussions started in 1989 as a way to give these vets the homecoming they deserved. “I felt they were treated badly when they came back,…

Laughter and Learning

Neal Cronkite says his first year as an educator was a “train wreck.” Fast forward 12 years, and the middle school science and math teacher from Holt this spring was named the winner of a national award considered the “Oscar” of teaching. “That first year, my management wasn’t great,” he said. “I was focused a…

Community and Leadership

After 18 years as an educator, Michigan’s newest Teacher of the Year is guided by a big-picture view of her role encompassed in three priorities. “We’ve got to keep the big things big,” said Laura Chang, a second grade teacher at Sunset Lake Elementary School in Vicksburg, who assumed the state’s top teacher mantle in…

Help From Friends

For Hillsdale schools bus driver Sid Halley, this is a story of one kid and a whole lot of friends. When one of Halley’s driver colleagues noticed a student in need of new clothing last fall, word went out to the community. The response was so huge that a project was born. The student took…

A Custodian and ‘Pillar’

When Steve Croschere heard that some attention-challenged students at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette needed standing desks to help them learn, he quietly set about making some. The school had been turned down for grant money to buy the expensive pieces of furniture, so the head custodian dug through old student desks cast off in…

Kindergarten Stop

Many news stories have been written about how much money teachers spend out of pocket each year on classroom supplies. But sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. After 32 years as an educator—almost all as a kindergarten teacher in Chippewa Valley—Carolann Jimison retired last month. First she had to clear out her room,…