by: Tami O’Connor
What Do You Do For a Living?
We’ve all been to dinner parties or gatherings where we hear that age-old question. I had struggled with that for years—not because people didn’t understand my job title at Educational Innovations, but because my title didn’t convey what exactly I do here.
Finally I decided on an answer that seems to resonate. I always respond, “Have you seen that movie, “Big” with Tom Hanks? You know how he gets to play with toys all day? Well, that’s what I do…”
Okay, so it’s not that way all the time, but it’s pretty close. I have the best job ever… which says a lot, because, after all, I was a teacher for 16 years before I started at Educational Innovations.
I loved teaching!
Now don’t get me wrong, teaching in the classroom was absolutely wonderful! Knowing that I was touching the lives of every child in my class was a very powerful and satisfying accomplishment for me. Building relationships with my students, sharing my knowledge, and learning about their interests was wonderfully rewarding.
Teaching at Educational Innovations
Though I don’t often have the opportunity to teach kids in a classroom anymore, I do present a fair number of teacher workshops throughout the year. Though I’m not reaching students directly, by teaching their teachers, it’s just as rewarding because I know that I am reaching even more students indirectly. Now that’s rewarding
My workshops have teachers acting as learners, the same way their students might in their classrooms. My students (the teachers) are typically attending, hypothesizing, manipulating, discovering, and best of all smiling. Because I value the importance of positive experiences in the classroom I tend to use materials that are engaging and fun.
The trick to memorable lessons
We all know that bringing positive emotion into our lessons taps right into the students’ long-term memory. When students enjoy themselves while learning great science, that knowledge will stick with them long after the unit test has been given! Could there be a more effective way to teach?
At Educational Innovations, we pride ourselves on having Super! Wow! Neat!® science materials that keep kids engaged and excited about learning. Selecting the products to carry is not always easy, but it is always fun! The criteria we employ when selecting a product are pretty straightforward: it must be fun to use, it must be reasonably priced, and most importantly, it must teach good science.
Educational Innovations has been teacher owned and operated for over 25 years. We understand the need to motivate and inspire students. Rather than selling the science lab necessities, we strive to provide high-quality and safe, yet awe-inspiring, products. Using discrepant events, vivid demonstrations, and mind-bending puzzles to capture a student’s imagination is what we’re all about. We only sell the stuff we would have used in our own classrooms.
Simply put, I love our products. My workdays are punctuated by furious touchable no-pop bubble fights or field trips outside to admire the UV beads or Nature Print Paper. Or, we might play with our Goldenrod Paper to see what will change its color. And don’t even get me started on our Squishy Circuits kits!
I simply can’t keep my hands off our stuff, and, since one of my jobs here is deciding which products to carry, I get to do a lot of playing!
So, while many people get up and go to work every day, I get up and go to play! It doesn’t get much better than that!