Teachers who took assignments rather than giving them out this summer will bring new know-how back to the classroom this year.
The 35 – mostly high school – teachers had business internships through Stanislaus Partners in Education, a nonprofit that links private enterprise with public schools. Monday, they debriefed, sharing what they gained in their 40-hour placements, and collected a $750 stipend.
“I learned how to frame a house,” said Nick Traini, who spent time with CMW Builders over the summer. Those skills will help in his advanced ag mechanics classes at Turlock High School.
Davis High statistics teacher Bridget Asuncion worked with research data for a Stanislaus County project.
“I originally thought about it just for the statistics. But I came away with really good tools,” Asuncion said. Updated ways that researchers cite sources was one of those tools, something her statistics students will need.
Time spent tutoring teens in juvenile hall gave Richard Jones insights he will take back to Del Puerto High, an alternative education school in Patterson.
“The biggest thing is the importance of understanding the various backgrounds of my students,” Jones said.
In addition to the tutoring, where he got to talk with young inmates, his intern duties included cell checks and routine jail work. Both perspectives will help him be a better Del Puerto teacher, he said.
“I teach American government, and that’s understanding the responsibilities of citizenship and the criminal justice process. But definitely the first thing is getting to know my students, especially the way they see themselves,” he said.
At Downey High, special education math teacher Paula Barton said she will bring back answers to why math matters. Her stint with Tenney A. Norquist Inc. taught her much about what goes into the installation and repair of heating and air-conditioning systems.
“They put me driving a forklift,” she said with a grin. She also did ride-alongs, seeing real-life examples of installers using math every day. “To me, this makes a lot of sense to do with (the new) Common Core (standards),” she said.
“My kids always ask me, ‘What are we going to do with all this math?’ ” Barton said. Now, she added, she has plenty of answers.
The program offers teachers a chance to get grounded, part of building a foundation for the future, said Paula Rafala, president of SPIE. “There are a lot of great things going back to the classroom. As a parent, that’s important to me,” said Rafala, who works at Memorial Medical Center.
“This program is a way to share the relevance in education for students,” said Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County superintendent of schools.
Hearing teachers talk about what they learned was an eye-opener, said Bruce Merchant of Alliance Worknet. “This was the first time I’d seen this, to see what the curriculum is and how they’re incorporating their experience to connect with students,” he said.
The teachers are also showing kids that learning does not stop with the first diploma, he said. “They’re modeling ongoing learning.”