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Back in the (teaching) saddle

I am a veteran classroom teacher who has found a new home at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. While I love my new job duties of designing and promoting resources and trainings for teachers, nothing will ever compare to teaching a great lesson to young, eager minds.

Daniel Sadowsky is on the education team at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

I am a veteran classroom teacher who has found a new home at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. While I love my new job duties of designing and promoting resources and trainings for teachers, nothing will ever compare to teaching a great lesson to young, eager minds. I’ve put on my teacher hat (a Stetson, of course) again briefly on a couple of occasions over the past few months. In the days prior to writing this blog, though, I felt like a cowboy back in his saddle because I got to work with young people three times in one week.

Dan-Sadowsky.jpg
Lauren Murray
Dan Sadowsky teaches about the Convention on the Rights of the Child at Scarsdale Middle School’s Human Rights Conference.

First, teacher Meghan Lahey invited us to be guest speakers for the April 28 Scarsdale (NY) Middle School Human Rights Conference. I decided to talk about the international source of rights for young people, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Students learned that basic children’s rights are all too often considered privileges that don’t apply to everyone. It was great to challenge the students to act on behalf of children’s rights everywhere.

Then came a long-planned Skype call to a biology class at New Bern High School in North Carolina. Their teacher, Ashlee Tetreault, asked us to teach a lesson on UNICEF’s work on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to complement her unit on its biomedical side. Her creative idea impressed us, and we agreed to develop it over the next few months.

Finally, I “visited” her classroom and engaged with her students about UNICEF’s “Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS” campaign. My first Skype lesson went surprisingly well, and the students got to learn about the critical work we support in the world beyond the walls of the classroom.

Finally, I got an invitation to chair the UNICEF committee of the Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference. I am so grateful to Jill Ruchala, Director of Global Education at the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), as I miss the model UN activity so much from my teaching days. I strove to promote a knowledgeable and orderly debate among high-schoolers roleplaying delegates to UNICEF’s executive board on a new HIV/AIDS policy for young people. It was awesome seeing the delegates arriving at consensus on a multi-faceted resolution in just over four hours.

It’s good for non-classroom educators like me to get back in the saddle from time to time and teach. It reminds me that young people really benefit from the work that I help other teachers do. As I hang up my teacher’s Stetson once more and ride off into the sunset back from Washington to New York on my (iron) horse named Amtrak, I feel deeply satisfied.

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