MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Station teachers and professional educators gathered to participate in the 2nd annual Matthew C. Perry Elementary School and High School Educator’s Day here Oct. 22.
Educator’s Day is an annual event conducted within the educational complexes throughout the Japan district.
The purpose of the training day was to sit down with and help teachers and professional educators learn important skills to take with them into the classroom, work space or everyday lifestyle.
The theme of the day was “One Degree More,” with the idea that if teachers can take that extra step to ensure the quality education of children, the efforts put forth by those teachers will make a difference.
“At 211 degrees, water is hot,” said Jackie Allen, professional educator and quest speaker. “At 212 degrees, it boils. With boiling water comes steam, and steam can power a locomotive.”
Teachers were divided into classrooms and participated in a variety of activities inspiring learning, collaboration and new ideas.
Business was conducted much like a regular school day with 45-minute sessions and an array of topics to discuss, including technology, art and poetry.
Professional educators also taught classes about numerous services that are unique to the air station and how teachers, as well as students, can take advantage of those services.
Classes on how to deal with learning disabilities such as attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, autism and dyslexia were also available.
Professional educators went over how to identify those disabilities and help children with special needs progress.
“These are areas we need to take care of,” said Clayton Fujie, Japan district superintendent. “These are our kids, and sometimes we need to take that extra step. It’s very important.”
During the day, educators were also given the opportunity to take a field trip to visit local Japanese schools.
“It’s great because (teachers) get to see what they do and how they do things,” said Fujie. “In our school systems, we have to take care of those needs also.”
Each trip escorted approximately 15 participants to Hamagiri Elementary School and Nagai High School to share ideas and experience the way education is practiced in Japan.
“We are trying to build a positive relationship with our local schools in hopes to build a partnership with them so our students can have a chance to experience the cultural aspect of Japan off base and see how their students learn as well,” said Morgan Nugent, M.C. Perry High School principal.
Networking became a critical skill teachers and professional educators practiced throughout the day.
By networking, teachers were not only able to share ideas with other cultures, but also among themselves in their own working environment to discuss which techniques work and which techniques do not.
“It’s a modern world where networking is critical in all facets of our lives,” said Nugent. “We have got to be able to have the chance to share our ideas with each other in order to grow. If we just sit back in our own little room and don’t communicate with each other, don’t share what we are doing, what’s working with one child, especially at the high school level where they move from one classroom to the next, we are hindering children’s education.”
According to Nugent, teachers and educators are often overlooked, and even though they may not be flying an F/A-18 Hornet or loading munitions, teachers and educators serve a critical role in accomplishing the mission.
“(Teachers) step in, go ahead and serve a role that makes a difference for those individuals who are stepping into the plane, holding a rifle in Afghanistan,” said Nugent. “(Teachers) provide (service members) and their children with the quality education they expect. (Service members) do not have to worry about their children not receiving an adequate education. They do not have to worry about their children’s safety. They know that their children are surrounded by caring teachers who sacrifice their time, and sometimes even their own self-interest, in order to ensure the children’s needs are met and that we put kids first.”
After the day’s events, the M.C. Perry school staff was ready to return to the classroom with new and fresh ideas to ensure the quality education of their students.