Educator in the Workplace: Exploring
Upper Valley Resources
By Lauren Hoehlein, UVBEP
|I often write about
the programs and opportunities that the Upper Valley Business and
Education Partnership organizes, but as a member of the staff of
UVBEP I don't generally get an inside view of how these programs
work on a participatory level. Recently, however, I experienced
one of our activities as a participant. On October 9th, I was able
to take part in UVBEP's fourth annual Educator in the Workplace
program, as I visited the Northern Stage theater production company
in White River Junction, VT.
When I arrived,
I was greeted by the production manager at Northern Stage, and
was introduced to Kristen Suprenant, a social studies teacher
from Rivendell Academy, and a participant in the program. We were
given some background on the company, a brief update on the shows
currently in the works, and started the tour. She led us throughout
the different departments and facets of the company, from the
administrative offices to the set building and construction areas
to a rehearsal in the theater itself. We also got an overview
of the various programs they run for the community, as well as
the challenges and benefits to running an independent theater
company in a rural area such as the Upper Valley.
The experience reminded me how
important it is to incorporate the community in our schools and,
perhaps more importantly, to keep educators in touch with their
students' communities beyond the classroom doors.
gather after their workplace tours to share ideas on how to bring
what they've learned back to the classroom.
The main purpose of this program
has always been to give educators the opportunity to explore Upper
Valley resources for teaching. This year, UVBEP sent out twelve
teachers from nine different schools in the Upper Valley, with
destinations ranging from Pike Industries, Inc. to the Hanover
Co-op. As David Stockwell, a high school physics teacher from
Claremont, said, "Sometimes teachers need to get out of the classroom
to see how the community and business world function." All of
the participants agreed that it was highly useful and interesting
to see how their individual areas of specialty were applied outside
of an educational setting, whether in developing software or creating
diet guidelines. After the various tours and programs, a collaborative
conference was held so that the participants can share their experiences,
discuss their thoughts on the usefulness of such programs, and
work on developing sound and realistic goals for the integration
of their experiences in the classroom. As one high school teacher,
who toured the Dartmouth Hitchcock Videoconferencing department,
explained, "It was useful to discuss and listen to the various
experiences, to compare and utilize what the 'real world' is doing."
Overall, it seemed that the general consensus was quite similar
to my own conclusions - that it is of utmost importance for educators
to remain connected with the greater community in order to impart
on their students the skills and values necessary beyond the classroom.
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