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Talking with Amanda Woods.

I first met Amanda at the 2005 Annual International Conference in Washington, D.C. She was the bright and bubbly student of ACEI/UN Representatives Lynn Staley and Eva Zygmunt-Fillwalk debuting the Web site, Working Group on Education, NGO Committee under UNICEF, during the Public Affairs Global Forum. As the Web site designer, Amanda introduced an exciting new project that educated and advocated for children's rights to survival, protection, and development as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The site, now known as Equipping Teachers for Advocacy, serves as a clearinghouse for educators that promotes global education with book and video resources, an extensive listing of organizations, and Web sites devoted to promoting the health, safety, empowerment, and education of all children.

Like many of the Global Forum attendees, I was impressed with this young lady who had initiated such an extensive and detailed project. Her enthusiasm was infectious, so much so that the Public Affairs Committee members hoped to see her again. And we did, at the 2006 Conference in San Antonio. Since our last meeting, Amanda has graduated from Ball State University with a major in Elementary Education (concentration in kindergarten and child development), become a member of ACEI, joined the Public Affairs Committee, and re designed the Working Group on Education Web site. This is quite an accomplishment for someone who is experiencing all of the challenges and joys of being a first-year teacher.

Currently a 1st-grade teacher at Stout Field Elementary in Indiana, Amanda notes that being a teacher is not just about teaching, which is what she expected, but also about so many other things. "Being a 1st-grade teacher has been challenging because there are so many things that you're not prepared for. There is an expectation to meet every child's individual need(s), in addition to program requirements," states Amanda. "It can sometimes be overwhelming. The reward comes when excitement replaces frustration for a child who begins to read his first book after struggling with pronunciation of sounds." Similar to many educators before her, Amanda is learning to appreciate the quiet accomplishment of introducing stability, safety, and learning to her students while adjusting to paperwork, procedures, and routines.

As ACEI members provide emotional support to Amanda--"I've spoken with several 1st-grade teachers and they've willingly shared stories, tips, and ideas for the classroom"--Amanda has created an advocacy initiative for ACEI to focus the public's attention on the rights and needs of children. The Web site, Equipping Teachers for Advocacy, www. bsu.edu/web/emzygmuntfil/index.html, provides an opportunity for educators to start talking about, and exploring, the state of the world's children.

--Jana Pauldin, Former ACEI Public Relations Manager
COPYRIGHT 2006 Association for Childhood Education International
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Title Annotation:Meet Our Members; Stout Field Elementary
Author:Pauldin, Jana
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Sep 22, 2006
Words:453
Previous Article:West Tennessee ACEI.
Next Article:WTACEI holds mini-conferences.
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