Houston Teachers Look to Externships for Help

8th grade math teacher Tracy O'Donnell will do almost anything to help her students learn.

"The world is an amazing exciting place and I want them to see that."

O'Donnell is one of dozens of Houston area school teachers who applied and were picked for externships with the A+ program. The teachers are placed at various businesses in order to learn more about those jobs, so that their students can learn more. O'Donnell is doing an externship with Shell and she believes her students are the ones who who will benefit in the long run.

"What they need to know is not just in the classroom.It affects everything. They need to see a little more vision of the future cause right now a lot of my kids are limited to jobs at JackξIn The Box and Walmart, so we need to spread them out a little bit and give them a shot at what they'd like to do."

Melissa Davis is with the A+ program. She says their goal is to develop classroom lessons that will make students' learning more relevant to the workplace. Something that's not always easy for teachers, especially when it comes to subjects like energy.

"I think a lot of teachers go directly from college themselves directly into teaching and I've talked to some teachers today who told me 'this is the first time I've realized all the different jobs out there that exist right here in the Houston region,' so that's kind of the whole point of this program."

The A+ externship program is now in its eighth year. Telicia Smith and John Jurkovich are both science teachers. They were touring an energy exhibit at the Houston museum of science. All part of their externship with shell.

"This is very helpful because this shows a real world experience for the kids and that's what the kids need to see. They need to see how this is related to the real world. Why do I need to learn this? That's what a child needs to know in science. Science has always been a hard subject for kids and just being makes a difference in learning."

"Having something internalized, students will feel more motivated to pursue maybe more careers and either two year or four year degrees."

More than 90 teachers are taking part in the program which runs all week. School may be out but they're still trying to improve themselves, so that their students can improve as well.
Tags: News, Education


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