Recent retiree returns to help teachers achieve goals

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- For Marilyn Maurer, one of the most important things in education today is helping teachers become good instructional decision makers.
Maurer, a long-time Language Arts consultant for Niles Community Schools, took out early retirement from the school district after last school year.
But, after a short break, the 55-year-old is back in the district as a part-time secondary Language Arts consultant for 6 through 12 graders.
Maurer spends her days in the district working on curriculum renewal and updates, as well as teaching teachers strategies for teaching reading and writing in the classroom.
She also organizes and does informal testing of students with learning difficulties, as well as conducting parent work shops and teacher in-services.
All with giving students the best possible education in mind.
In Maurer's view, there has been some significant changes in education over the last few decades.
The greatest change, which has taken place all over the country, Maurer said, is that education has gone from a skill-based to holistic instruction approach.
A holistic approach, she said, means grouping children in mixed ability classrooms, which allows each individual child to learn according to their ability.
Maurer, who is originally from Lake Placid, N.Y., said she took out early retirement to pursue other education related areas.
But, her love for education, children and teachers made it easy to come back to the school district when she was offered a job.
Maurer is glad to see the school district is expanding its English programs, which will hopefully help students become better readers.
She thinks todays teachers have the skills to provide children with a quality education.
With a curriculum that seems to grow each year, however, teachers also need more time to adjust to new curriculum requirements, she said.
Maurer thinks the increased requirements can sometimes lead to stress among teachers, who feel overwhelmed with the demands that are put on them.
And, she sees a trend where women are no longer choosing teaching as a life-long career.
But, that isn't necessarily only a result of increased stress, she said.
Maurer plans to stay in education until she retires – for the second time.
Married and with three successful children, Maurer still believes many people go into education because they want to make a difference in peoples lives.
As a long-time educator, however, she has realized there are no easy solutions to providing the best possible education to all children.
She thinks schools need to make an extra effort in supporting parents, and businesses need to be more flexible with their employees and let them be able to take time off and take part in the different school activities their children are involved in.

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