ELLIOTT KANNER believes in learning by teaching.
The east Columbia resident returned recently from Siedlce, Poland, where he taught English for two weeks.
Kanner's busy life belies the fact that he is "retired."
He is a substitute teacher at Wilde Lake High School and active in the community. In Poland, he was a full-time teacher working with Polish high school students. His job was to teach conversational English.
"My students could read English, but did not know the words' meaning," Kanner said. "But they were very knowledgeable with adding and subtracting U.S. currency because it was tangible."
Kanner was part of a 10-member team sent to Poland under the auspices of the Global Volunteers program.
The volunteers pay to be part of the program.
Personal costs for Global's international program -- including meals, lodging and ground transportation but not air travel -- can range from $995 to $2,095.
Programs within the United States cost as little as $450.
Kanner's group stayed in the Reymontowka manor house, where they held informal classes four hours a day weekdays.
As a teacher and a student, Kanner experienced a sense of optimism at the hopefulness of his students -- and dismay at the horrors of the past.
"English is the door that opens to opportunity for the students in a country new to democracy and free enterprise," he said.
"In a turnabout, the Polish students translated for us on a trip to the Warsaw zoo. My most memorable experience was a trip to the Treblinka Camp Memorial. The death camp was destroyed by the SS before the end of the war, and is not as well known as other concentration camps."
Two weeks of classes did not leave much time for investigating and learning about Poland. But on his free weekend, Kanner visited the district of Kazimierz.
"It is a historic area with fascinating architecture," he said. "Of particular interest is its Jewish synagogue, which was established in 1410."
Kanner summed up: "It was two weeks well spent in the knowledge that I could be of help and at the same time have the opportunity to meet a new culture."
Global Volunteers was established in 1984 in St. Paul, Minn. Its programs extend to 20 countries, including the United States.
Prospective volunteers may contact Global at 800-487-1074 or by writing to 375 E. Little Canada Road, St. Paul, Minn. 55117.
Parents and students attending east Columbia schools should be interested in the meeting on "Boundary Line Adjustments" on Dec. 3 at Hammond High School.
The adjustments will determine the boundaries of school districts.
Some schools are projected to be over-enrolled; enrollment in others may not reach capacity.
Howard County public school representatives will explain the adjustments as well as the reasons for the changes.
If you have a student in your family, the meeting could be important to you.
Details are also spelled out in the "Capital Budget FY 2000 Capital Improvement Program FY 2001 -- 2005, Board Proposed."
For a copy: 410-313-6682.
Holidays are here
It's time for "Lunch with Santa" for children ages 3 to 8 at Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way.
The Dec. 5 event, led by Nancy Reed and Shari Grue of "Let's Party," begins at 11: 30 a.m.
Each child will meet Santa and discuss the "big day."
Because of limited space and fire laws, fewer than 100 tickets are available.
Tickets cost $4.50. The deadline for purchasing them at the community center is Nov. 30.
Talbott Springs Elementary School's Parent Teacher Association executive board has named the PTA's officers.
Nick Elam is president; Pam Vogel is first vice president; and Bill Wade is second vice president and in charge of fund raising.
Remember Wade's name -- he will be calling you. He needs your help.
Treasurer is Cheryl Colombi; recording secretary is Kim Ince.
PTA delegates Veronica Harman and Natalie Cole-Lawrence keep in touch with PTA state and national groups.
Committee chairs are: Nassareen Rahman, holiday baskets; Debra Kelley and Sally Foster, gift wrap sales; Lynne Barr, school store receipts; and Ricky Mize, membership.
A few chairmanships and two officer positions are still to be filled.
Attend the next PTA "Eagles Flight" meeting.
Jewel of Columbia
Stephanie Waters is one of the many jewels of Columbia.
Neighbors, friends and theater patrons are familiar with her talent.
Recently, audiences in Virginia had the opportunity to see her perform in "A Little Night Music" at the Signature Theater in Arlington.
She will portray Martha Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" at Ford's Theater in Washington. The production opens Saturday and closes Jan 3.
A theater critic summed up a Waters performance: "Her instincts, acting and singing mark her as a star of the future in musical theater."
Waters lives in east Columbia's Village of Kings Contrivance and attends River Hill High School.