Teacher Externships – helping students connect classroom learning to manufacturing career readiness

Teacher externships are helping to bridge the gap between the classroom and the world of work by bringing teachers into the workplace for first-hand interactions with business leaders. GenMet, a metal fabrication company in Mequon, opened its doors to teachers so they can relate their experiences back to students. We believe the best way to share the value of the Teacher Externship program – is through the experiences of the teachers – in their own words. The following accounts were provided by Mary Isbister, president of GenMet Corp.

Ulices Sepúlveda EE    MA (Teacher Extern at GenMet Summer 2014)
PLTW DE Master Teacher |MPS PLTW Instructional Coach |PLTW Engineer State Leader“One of my favorite activities was trying to understand how the forming machines bend the metal. The use of angles and thinking skills to decide how to start bending sequence …  so you can use the machine to the maximum advantage and maximum performance. Lots of fractions, and percentages, decimals, tolerances, and significant decimal places. This experience also highlighted other critical skills: Attention to precision; team work and how your decisions affect others; how not to rush, but how to expedite with the least risk. Above everything, be PROUD of your work. Learn to work with the stress of time constraint. Many of our students do not understand the importance of all these skills.Rotating through the different rolls or department is a great idea. At the end of my shift I was exhausted and when I got home I did not have the energy to sit and write the lesson learned during the day. My memory lost a lot of the details of specific problems that used math during the day. The only suggestion I would do is to dismiss the teacher from his/her duty at the floor and wash off about 20 minutes earlier,  not to go home earlier, but to  sit in a quiet room and log the lesson learned for the day while they are fresh.

I think the industry should have a louder voice in the design and implementation of STEM curriculum.  Again the experience was well worth it to me and I encourage every teacher of stem subjects to get involved.

Craig Griffie (Teacher Extern at GenMEt Summer 2016)
Technology Education Teacher |Brown Deer Middle/High School

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity this summer at GenMet. Though I am a licensed Tech Ed teacher, it is an “experience-based” license with a background in carpentry. My school district and several local businesses are asking that our program include precision measurement and an introduction to metal fabrication. This is outside of my experience base, so (could cut) I am looking for a practical way to gain experience with metal fabrication and concrete ways I can bring those skills into my curriculum.  I’m a believer of the apprentice style learning, and also believe Tech Ed teachers like myself would make a heck of an apprentice for a fabricator for a 5-6 week period in the summertime.  The other benefit of an apprentice approach is that both parties will gain. The host company gains an eager worker at a lower wage that will grow in productivity, and the apprentice gains useful skills that can be applied back to other parts of our main profession, teaching.”

Check out the following resources for Teacher Externships:

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