With Memorial Day looming, many educators start to gear up for the end of the school year, but not the members of the Central Regional Education Association (CREA.) Instead, they threw open the doors of their classrooms and invited local community members to walk a mile in their shoes.

On May 23 and May 24, the CREA hosted a range of individuals to participate in their first annual Teacher for a Day event. Teacher for a Day is a program where legislators, town council representatives, board of education members, parents, police, business owners, and other members of the community are invited into a school to fully immerse themselves in the everyday activities of a teacher.

“This event provided an excellent opportunity for people outside of the education world to get a unique and personal perspective in dealing with caring for society’s most precious asset: our children,” said Josh Eckersley, CREA’s Teacher for a Day coordinator. “Additionally, community members get a first-hand experience of some of the daily responsibilities educators face on a regular basis like attendance, paperwork, copies, school policy, and other important facets of our work.”

Under the watchful eye of a regular classroom teacher, these community members are transformed into guest teachers, performing all of the duties a teacher would do in a normal day. By bringing public figures and members of the community into schools and having them witness the real-life school environment, educators are able to develop broad-based support for themselves and their students while dispelling the myth that teaching is a “cushy job.”

For their inaugural event, CREA secured a wide range of people to attend this unique and exciting experience. This year’s participants included:

Central Regional Board of Education President Tracy Mianulli, who worked with middle school language arts teacher Wendy Vacante’s classes;

Tuckerton Chief of Police Michael Caputo, who worked with middle school social studies teacher Matt Del Prete’s classes;

Central Regional Board of Education member Susan Cowdrick, who worked with high school chemistry teacher Lynn Sweezo’s classes;

Island Heights Town Council President Steve Berglund, who worked with high school algebra teacher Jaime Cestare’s classes; and

Central Regional Chief Academic Officer Tom Gallahue, who worked with high school English teacher Mary Lou Gere’s classes.

“Overall the event was a huge success,” Eckersley continued. “Community members got to learn just a small bit of what a teacher has to deal with on a daily basis and host teachers got to experience showing a community member how we operate at Central Regional School District.”

CREA President Mike Mannion agreed. “On behalf of the Central Regional Education Association, we thank all host teachers and community members for taking time out of their busy schedule to make this event so meaningful for all.”

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