Summer school is for teachers, too

September 4, 2015

When Katie Hanson’s math students start the new term in the coming years, they’re likely to find a class with an unexpected twist – writing presentations. That change is due to Hanson’s time as a Teachers In Industry (TII) intern at Ulteig.

“I see my students benefitting from this in several ways. One of my professional growth areas is having the students write more in math,” 

Hanson says. “I’m definitely going to continue with that. I think that’s great to have them do and I see that skill being used here all the time. Everyone’s writing something.”

Hanson applied for the TII internship after seeing it on the website of the Moorhead, Minn., school district, where she teaches ninth-grade geometry. Coming into the internship, she says she didn’t really know what to expect. Her main goal was to help her students by finding out what skills employers were looking for in addition to classroom work. She decided the internship was the perfect opportunity to get a first-hand look at those skills.

But it wasn’t just seeing engineers writing presentations, project reports and project requests that surprised Hanson during her internship. The amount of collaboration also caught her attention. It’s something she sees herself putting into her classes along with more writing. And she wants to go beyond those two elements, adding something to the curriculum sure to bring fear into the hearts of her students – presenting in front of their classmates. 

“The presenting of their ideas is something I haven’t had them do very much,” she points out. “But having sat in on several mock presentations here where presenters get feedback, I see that it’s important for them to be able to stand up and express ideas to the class. I think we’ll be doing more of that.”

Beyond finding practices to add to her classroom instruction, Hanson says she also learned about other items that she didn’t expect, from how proposal requests come in and all of the pieces needed to put a proposal together, to getting the proposal to the appropriate people in different departments.

“I didn’t realize that all these components would come together in a company this size,” she says. “Getting to see all that and all the different jobs. Even though it’s an engineering company, all the different jobs that are in it and the variety of those has been interesting.”

With her internship complete, Hanson believes the lessons she’s learned will benefit her and her students well into the future, and she highly recommends other teachers get involved as well.

“You’ll get an overview of the whole engineering process, and you’ll get to see what skills are being used in the workforce today,” she points out. “We’re kind of removed from that, being in our classroom all day, and getting the opportunity to see these skills in use by professionals has been invaluable. I can try to incorporate some of those skills into my classroom.”

Of course, we suspect some of those ninth-graders may be unsure about that when it’s their turn to present to the class.

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