Several questions commonly come out of a high school student’s mouth: The question of whether or not decent cafeteria food will ever be a possibility, the question of how much longer until class ends.
Fortunately, the usage of some school subjects can, in fact, be used in real life. For example, Elizabeth Kieffer teaches four different areas of practical knowledge, Fashion Design, Independent Living, and Child Development. Angela Mojeiko teaches the same number of beneficiary classes, Computer Technology, Digital Productions, Professional Skills, and Personal Finance.
“I do so many projects, it’s hard to pick just a few to highlight. In child development one of my favorite activities is the ‘empathy belly experience.’ This is a teaching aid that allows students to experience being nine months pregnant for the entire block. They do several activities to ensure they are able to empathize and understand all that it entails. In Fashion Design, my favorite project would be the design portfolio. This is submitted at the end of the quarter, and shows their growth and creativity, while implementing all the design elements and principles in their looks. Another favorite is in Interior Design is where students design interior space to meet the wants and needs of their clients, and are able to explain how the principals and elements where applied in order fulfill the client’s wishes,” Kieffer said.
Both Kieffer’s and Mojeiko’s classes are focused on practical, important tasks that all can be used at some point in adult life.
“Real word stuff, things you can use in the future. I think it’s all about the skills, finding the information where you need it. Your parents won’t be there forever,” Mojeiko said.
In each class, students learn many skills that are a near certainty to be used later on: how to sew a button on a coat, what colors go best with a room, applying for a job and getting a credit card. Kieffer and Mojeiko share what they enjoy most about their jobs.
“The thing I enjoy most would be my relationships with the students; learning from them to make what I teach more relevant and relatable. The most beneficial thing I try to teach in each class is to have good character. I try to model good character to my students and weave it into each lesson I teach,” Kieffer said.
Teaching students to be good people is a high priority for Mojeiko, as well.
“Hopefully inspiring students. Just that contact and to know you did something to push them in the right direction,” Mojeiko said.
Even though the lessons in these classes teach many important things, there are a few details students may miss.
“Some things that students don’t feel is important is accountability, meaning showing up on time, ready to go. This is an employability skill that will always be sought after, and they need to practice this more while in school,” Kieffer said.
For many students, high school goes by so quickly they forget what they’ve been taught, or how important it is.
“What kids miss in general is the fact that they are eventually going to need what I teach them, and the discipline required for the future,” Mojeiko said.
Both teachers mentioned quotes that help to drive their teaching.
“My son gave me a coffee cup as a gift that has the quote ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ from Ghandi. And I think that’s very true. Modeling is a very impactful way to teach others,” Kieffer said.
Modeling honesty and ambition are important lessons of life.
“Don’t let what you cannot do, interfere with what you can do,’ by John Wood. Any time you make a mistake you make an excuse. It’s different to be honest than to make an excuse,” Mojeiko said.