FRANKFORT, Ind. — Michelle Albitz doesn’t see what she does as teaching but more as preparing her students for adulthood — at least, as much as she can.

The Clinton Prairie High School teacher instructs five classes over the academic school year with some only offered during particular semesters: introduction for seventh-graders to family and consumer sciences, child development, adult roles, and two levels of nutrition and wellness.

“I don’t have to convince these kids to take these classes,” Albitz said. “They know that they are going to need these skills someday when they are out on their own.”

In her nutrition and wellness courses, it is food preservation season, so Albitz said students will keep canning and freezing produce until it is gone.

“We run this unit entirely off of donations,” she said. “Kids bring in produce from their gardens at home, members of the community who have excess will reach out to me to give to the classes, and it is really great to see. I tell them every year that we will keep preserving as long as people keep giving to us.”

Albitz, who has taught at Clinton Prairie for 24 years, said she has never had to purchase canning jars.

“I remind them every time we do this to bring them back once they have been emptied, and they do,” she said. “Even if it is three years later, my students always remember and bring them back to me. I always have donations from the community, as well.”

She doesn’t only teach her students how to save food year-round, however. She teaches basic cooking skills, financial literacy, house-hunting, car-purchasing, safe sex, wedding planning and even death.

“We talk about mourning and death and then take a trip to Goodwin Funeral home,” Albitz said. “We also study Elizabeth Kubler Ross to understand the five stages of grieving, and we also use that process when we talk about divorce, too, because that is a death of a relationship. We also delve a little into the ideas of after life and the supernatural and the students always like to discuss it whether they have a religion or don’t.”

Coridan Shilling, a senior at Clinton Prairie, has taken every class Albitz offers.

“This is the kind of stuff you will always need to know,” Shilling said. “When you are on your own, you have to know how to cook and how to do your taxes because you can’t really rely on anyone else.”

Although many joke about it, Albitz said kids really do need someone to teach them how to, well, adult.

“Not a lot of places teach these basic life skills that are needed to be functioning adults,” she said. “You can’t expect to produce functioning members of society if no one is teaching them how to survive on their own.”


Source: (Lafayette) Journal and Courier, http://on.jconline.com/2bJhMTX


Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

This is an Indiana Exchange story shared by the (Lafayette) Journal and Courier.