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Teaching makes for great learning

April 10, 2018 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor
Instructor Jessica Scalzo plays the role of "The European" during the popular Kairos blanket exercise workshop. (CORY HARE)

For Jessica Scalzo, being part of the ATA’s instructor corps is a learning experience like no other.

“It’s some of the best PD you could ever do because the corps is built on people who are experts in their fields,” Scalzo says.

Specializing in diversity, equity and human rights, Scalzo is one of 53 volunteers who make up the Association’s corps of trained instructors. These teacher volunteers are recruited based on a three-year term and can serve up to three terms.

While the time commitment can vary greatly, instructors typically deliver between five and 10 workshops per school year, says Nancy Luyckfassel, the executive staff officer who recruits and oversees the corps members.

The work of the corps instructors tends to be concentrated around the beginning of the school year, specialist council conferences, teachers’ convention season and district PD days. When an instructor is deployed, the Association covers the cost of a substitute so there is no cost to the instructor’s employing board.

Each year the Association holds a recruitment drive to replace departing corps members. The next intake is in December.

“I treat it like a job interview,” Luyckfassel says. “It is rigorous to join.”

Scalzo says that, as part of the corps, it’s a privilege to meet and learn from teachers in their communities.

“It’s really inspirational to see how passionate people are about what they do with their students and with their colleagues — you can’t help but have your own practice be shaped by that experience.” ❚

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