A 19-year teacher

At Work

Ruth Wilsey Eisenhour works as an environmental educator at the Harford Glen center


September 06, 2006|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,Special to the Sun

Ruth Wilsey Eisenhour


Harford County public schools, Bel Air

Salary --$70,000 a year

Age: --41

Years on the job --19

How she got started --Eisenhour spent the first six years as a fifth-grade teacher for Harford County public schools. The past 13 years she has worked as an environmental educator with the system's Harford Glen Environmental Education Center.

Typical day --Eisenhour works a regular school schedule starting in late August and ending in June. She begins her day at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. However, the center also has an overnight camp for fifth-graders 16 weeks out of the school year. During those weeks, Eisenhour also stays over one night a week. The bulk of her day is teaching environmental science at the 350-acre Harford Glen location or on field studies where she meets classes for activities such as canoeing trips, hikes and quarry visits. "I do a lot more administrative things than a teacher normally would. I'm not grading papers, but there's a lot of planning."

Relationship with the children --Eisenhour said the thing she missed the most after making the transition from a fifth-grade teacher to her current position was the daily contact with her pupils. "The kids really don't know me. It's rewarding because I get to affect a lot more kids, but I don't always get to see how I've affected them."

Hands-on learning --"Rather than just learning, we want them to go and do something to improve the environment." Activities can include building a wood duck box, conducting a stream analysis or preparing an environmental action plan.

She hopes they leave with --"The knowledge they can make a difference. They can change the world and make it a better place."

The good --"I get to work with kids, teachers and parents from all over the county."

The bad --"When it's really hot, really cold or really rainy, sometimes it's hard acting like it's really not hot, really not cold or really not rainy."

Recognition for her work --Eisenhour is one of three Maryland finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's highest honor for teachers in this field.

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest Special to The Sun

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