It is quite a commitment for an Iowa teacher to block six weeks to experience a workplace that uses the skills and knowledge of the class they teach. Typically, teachers use summer to revise or create new courses, or to further their education, or to teach summer school or coach at a camp. So what attracts dozens of teachers to STEM externships each year? Two incoming externs for summer 2023 shared their reasoning recently.
Bridget Schaufenbuel, Clayton Ridge High School mathematics and computer science teacher, and Aaron Leppert, Southeast Valley High School science teacher, are first-year STEM Teacher Externs who applied for the program to help make a stronger connection between classroom learning and careers.
“I would love to see the connections between content I am teaching my students and how it is used in the workplace. The description of the STEM Teacher Externship Program really caught my attention with the goal to answer the question that kids are always asking: ‘Where am I going to use this?,’ said Schaufenbuel. “In my classroom, I always strive to answer this question for my students because I want them to enjoy learning and see the purpose to motivate them and increase their desire to continue learning for their entire life.”
“Every summer, I like to work in a field outside of my expertise. As a teacher, it is my job to help students grow and become better people and functional adults. A teacher must continue challenging themselves and growing,” said Leppert. “My students do not always see the value in math and science. I plan to gain as many experiences as possible so that I may answer that question or point them in a direction that will best support their goals in life.”
To learn more about the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit www.IowaSTEM.org/externships.