Summer Externships for Educators
TEACHER EXTERNSHIPS are a creative way of building strong links and greater understanding between schools and businesses. In an externship, a teacher or guidance counselor spends time in a business setting, visiting with various personnel, observing work activities, participating in projects and gathering information for classroom use.
An externship may include a variety of activities such as an introduction to the company, hands-on participation in activities, and time to observe and talk informally with others. Externs and their business hosts share information about career opportunities, skills needed in the workplace, possible classroom projects as well as today’s students and challenges in teaching.
As schools and businesses work more closely, they realize that the skills taught in the classroom must be relevant in the workplace. Participating teachers from all subject areas agree that externships have helped them to use real life issues when designing learning activities for students.
Teachers have been able to bring up to date knowledge of the job market to their discussions of career planning and provide students with valuable insight into the personal qualities and skills most valued by employers.
Businesses benefit as well by being able to help influence curriculum to meet industry needs and build awareness of career opportunities within their industry.
As a host for a Teacher Externship, you are helping teachers and counselors uncover real links between academic skills, curriculum and workplace learning, as well as building stronger ties between the business community and the schools.
Because of these externships, teachers are able to use real work issues when designing lesson plans for students and business is able to help influence curriculum to meet industry needs. It’s a win-win situation.
Each year TASC prints a booklet of the lesson plans submitted which are distributed to the participants, schools, libraries and posted on our website to share with other educators.
Over the past few years, more than 1000 Massachusetts educators of all grades and subjects spent some time working in a business. Here’s a sampling of their experiences:
A Physics & Chemistry teacher said that the experience was valuable because it allowed her to see and even experience first hand what is being expected of today’s employees. She planned to link the experience to the classroom by making the students aware of how the lab experiments they do in high school related to the work done at the corporation she visited.
A World Language teacher said the experience infused new enthusiasm in her. “Personal energy spills over. I move my students by being moved myself."
A Math teacher said: “I tell my students who take shortcuts on geometry proofs that if you work at a bank and skip a step, you spend hours trying to rebalance your cash drawer at the end of the night. That kind of message they can understand.”
An English teacher said: "All of us should work outside the school. It’s easy to get closed-in by the classroom and lose touch with what students need when they leave the school building."
A Geometry teacher who worked at a pharmaceutical company, shadowing executives and working on lab projects said: "I got a first-hand look at what kind of skills managers need. For example, they all use spreadsheets. I only teach one unit on spreadsheets. So now I recommend to my students to take the course we offer here on spreadsheets.”
A Science teacher said: “Why do I need to know this? I hear that question from every student. Now I have answers for them.”
What about the employers? What do they get out of it? Here are some comments:
The President of a major manufacturer said: “If we are going to be competitive in the global marketplace, it has to happen both in the classroom and on the factory floor. We need to collaborate more with our teachers.”
From a Construction Company: “Our teacher extern was given a total overview. We hope that she will be able to counsel her students and let them know that construction is attractive and a good career.”
From a newspaper: “I think the teacher left us with a clear picture of the skills-related issues we face in recruiting and hiring."
From a high tech business: “Clearly, a teacher externship is a first step in building a relationship that supports a high standard of education for students and a better prepared future workforce.”
And a supervisor from another high tech business: “We have directly benefited from teacher externships by utilizing talented teachers as extra employees on a project.” (Don’t be afraid to put these people to work.)
For more information contact the Business Outreach Specialist
View our Lesson Plans
Summer Externships for Educators
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