Archived Story

Coming back to Earth

Published 11:15am Wednesday, August 28, 2013 Updated 11:19am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Teachers and students are surely familiar with the first-day routine of talking about what people did on their summer vacations.

Amy Beske and Linda Zsedeny will have a hard story to beat.

Beske and Zsedeny, both teachers at Kennedy Secondary School, went on all all-expenses-paid trip to the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy in Huntsville, Ala. June 15-21. The Honeywell Corporation covered the cost of the trip. Beske said more than 200 teachers participated in the program over the course of two weeks.

Beske, an earth science teacher, said the trip gave her lots of useful tips and lesson plans which will give her students a different kind of classroom experience.

“Any time we can incorporate some fun into learning, it gives value to the kids,” Beske said.

The teachers went on the trip with different points of view. Beske said she has been interested in space since she can remember. Zsedeny, a math teacher, also said space is interesting to her, but she approached the camp from a more mathematical place.

Zsedeny said breaking out of the routine and learning in a new environment was a great way to stay sharp over the summer.

“It was kind of fun to take lessons that were more than just the paper-and-pencil kind of things,” Zsedeny said.

The days began with a 7 a.m. bus ride to the Academy, where the teachers would eat breakfast. After that, Beske said the day was jam-packed with activities and events. The teachers got to work in flight simulators and took part in mock helicopter crashes and parachute landings, among many other things.

Working in these environments was often hectic, but both women said it will help them improve as teachers.

“You have to be a great problem-solver and that’s what we want for our students,” Beske said.

The other teachers participating in the program also helped Beske and Zsedeny learn new methods and lessons. They worked with teachers from South Africa and Great Britain and met a 65-year-old woman who had just sold nearly all of her belongings and was going to teach in Honduras.

Students in Beske’s or Zsedeny’s classes can expect new and unusual lessons based on what the teachers learned at the Academy. Beske said she has been working on a water filtration lab demonstration and Zsedeny said she may look to work with robotics in her classes.

But the most important thing Beske said she is bringing back with her from Alabama is enthusiasm for education.

“When an old duffer like me still loves learning, hopefully that energy will be contagious,” Beske said.

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