Depending on how seriously you view serving deli sandwiches, Project Learn was my first “real” job. When I started at Project Learn, I was 19 years old working on my undergraduate degree at the University of Akron. At the time, Project Learn, along with the rest of the library, was housed on East Tallmadge in a maze of temporary walls in an empty warehouse store. Our office was separated by three by eight foot panels of foam board held in place by book shelves. The twenty foot ceiling and the bright hanging lights made me feel like I was on a television set. We were a small staff then with just one location, a couple of teachers, and a handful of tutoring pairs.
When the library reconstruction was finished we moved to our new home in the lower level. By that time, my job went from answering phones to conducting homework help sessions for kids, and testing and orientation for adults. I remember feeling eager to help our students, but slightly ridiculous because I had such limited life experience. Imagine a 21 year old telling you how to set your life goals and get back on track with your education.
By the time I graduated, I held just about every position Project Learn had to offer: tutoring, testing, teaching, orienting and data entry. I even repurposed the foam board from the walls to create summer camp and fundraiser decorations. In 2008, it was time for me to fly the Project Learn coop and head for my own classroom. For the past six years I’ve been pouring my heart out about science to middle school students. My time in the classroom was priceless and now I’m back at Project Learn to help design a mobile science lab and science curriculum.
I’m also working with teachers to help integrate technology into lessons. Because the new Official GED test is computer based, we need to prepare our students with 21st century skills. Project Learn has new Chromebooks and iPads that will be making a debut in the classroom and resource room. We also have a new podcast that will keep our learning community current with the goings-on at Project Learn.
I look forward to exploring these new changes, and am excited to be back with the Project Learn team!
– Tessa Torowski, Chief Learning Officer