DUGGER, Ind. (WTHI) - School might be out for students but nearly a dozen teachers in Sullivan County are back in session this week.
Several teachers, most of them elementary school-based, are taking up the role of students this week with the hope of bettering their students' educational experiences.
Stephanie Kinnett is one of 11 teachers that's back in school, wanting to fine-tune her teaching skills.
The fourth-grade teacher at Dugger Elementary School is taking part in a five-day workshop focusing on STEM education---science, technology, education, and math---with a touch of arts sprinkled in.
"We just feel like this is something really useful. That we can take back to our kids and really help them on," said Kinnett. "You know, learning the standards that the state wants us to teach them in each grade level."
Dugger Elementary Principal, Beth Langel-Waterman, decided to bring in Diana Wehrell-Grabowski, a Florida-based science education consultant, after the Indiana Department of Education awarded Sullivan County-based Northeast School Corporation a Rural and Low Income School Grant.
After three days of training with the consultant affectionately known as 'Dr. Diana", Langel-Waterman can already tell that her five Dugger Elementary teachers taking part in the workshop will elevate their educating skills to an even higher level.
"What we're doing is just showing them a new way to think, a new way to teach," said Langel-Waterman. "And then that's going to transform again into our students."
Kinnett likes the hands-on aspect of the workshop.
"And it's just something that we can actually have our students do," added Kinnett. "And it's with materials that we have available and...or we could get easily."
The workshop is a hands-on process that involves hand-written journals and an occasional earthworm, with the goal of the teachers' learning filtering down to students' educational experiences.
'It tells me that they really care about their students," said Langel-Waterman. "And they care about not just maintaining status quo but they want to continually learn themselves and then they...they can go back and take that into the classroom."
One teacher attending the workshop this week has 34 years of educational experience, proving that it's never too late to go back to school.
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