Real world experience is benefiting students as teachers are learning through externships. Recently four high school teachers worked a week long session with CDE Lightband to learn about where electricity comes from and how it is disbursed in a community.
Four teachers from Northeast High School teachers from the Clarksville-Mongomery County School System -Marc Walls, Julie Eskew, Stephanie Garner and Linda Shannon took advantage of the externships, where math and science teachers work with local businesses in their respective work settings. They gain a better understand the application of the subjects they teach to the future workforce.
The idea for the Teacher Extern Program began in fall 2011, when school officials realized that teachers focusing on science, technology engineering and math (STEM) as part of a STEM initiative were being asked to present the engineer-design process, but didn’t have much hands-on experience to draw from. The externships are funded by a U.S. Department of Defense Educational Grant.
Teachers work alongside the employees of STEM business partners and identify workplace “challenges” that translate into teachable lessons for CMCSS students. Walls explained that people drive by a substation and might think that is where electricity comes from. “It’s a big part of STEM for us. It’s addressing misconceptions. We learn and make a connection to real life careers and problems and take that back to students,” Walls said.
Often, teachers only know the world of the classroom and haven’t had access to businesses which apply math and science concepts in their daily activities. The purpose of the teacher externship is to bring the complex issues of STEM into real-life, work-based situations for teachers to improve classroom instruction. LuAnn Warren, operation dispatch supervisor, said that the teachers were introduced to the Meter and Operations departments learning about all the Smart technology and capabilities they have to offer.