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Buttles will continue to teach, observe during leave

February 28, 2008

Agricultural Education Professor Timothy Buttles has taught at UW-River Falls for the last seven years, but next fall he will be taking a sabbatical and getting back to basics observing secondary education classes.

“Most of what I teach is to future teachers,” Buttles said. “So I think it’s time for me to go back and see what the day-to-day work of a teacher is like.”

According to a UWRF press release, there are four professors who have been granted sabbaticals for the fall 2008 semester. Buttles is the only one who will continue to teach and observe teaching during his.

“For every discipline, a sabbatical will look different,” Buttles said. “With my role, preparing students to teach, it makes sense for me to go and observe teachers.”

Buttles taught high school for five years after graduating college while working on his masters degree. He said some days there’s not that much difference between high school and college, but the flow is different.

“Because high school classes are five days a week, you can take more time to cover things,” Buttles said. “Monday-Wednesday-Friday is less flexible, and if you get off track, its tougher to get back on.”

Buttles, who lives near Glenwood City with his wife and two children, will be commuting to The Academy for Science and Agriculture in the Twin Cities, Stillwater High School, New Richmond High School and Clear Lake School.

Though there is no set schedule for when he will be at each school, Buttles said he plans on starting at the farthest away from his house, so when it gets colder it will be less of a drive.

Clear Lake is the only school he will be visiting that also has middle-aged students as well.

“I chose Clear Lake because the component is different, and this will give me a chance to see what middle school is like,” Buttles said.

Buttles is still in the preliminary stages of planning his sabbatical. He said that aside from confirming that it will be OK for him to visit the schools, they haven’t gotten into much detail.

But even in the preliminary stages, Buttles is still excited about the prospect of observing and teaching with peers.

“I am looking forward to going back after being here,” Buttles said. “It will be interesting to see if it is different or if I’m just thinking it’s different.”

Buttles will be back at UWRF in the spring of 2009 teaching college students, but his 2008 fall certainly stands to embody one aspect of teaching he loves.

“What I like about teaching is that it’s different; it’s not the same thing day after day.”