Professional Development

Learning on the Job

By Michelle R. Davis — April 24, 2007 1 min read

Biology and horticulture teacher Steve Shifflett spent the last three summers in laboratories studying the Ebola virus, zebra fish embryos, and a parasite that infected Chesapeake Bay oysters.

Shifflett, who teaches at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, gets paid for these learning experiences and, come fall, brings enhanced abilities back to the classroom. “The kids can tell the difference between something you know from a book and something you’ve experienced,” he says.

See Also

See the related story,

School’s Out—or Not

There are many teacher-internship programs out there—especially in science and technology—but most accept only a handful of educators each summer. Teachers interested in such opportunities should start searching in the fall, since applications are often due early in the calendar year. The application process can be labor intensive; be prepared to gather recommendations and write essays. Your own district is a good place to start; ask if there are any existing programs with local businesses or research organizations.

“Part of [the purpose of educator internships] is stretching teachers to think in more ambitious ways about what their students are capable of,” says Mark Slavkin, vice president for education at the Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. The center offers a summer program for educators from Los Angeles County elementary schools. This year, groups will study the ballet The Sleeping Beauty and Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning.”

“Summer programs should be to re-experience why you love your subject, ” says Carol Jago, of the California Reading & Literature Project at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her organization offers three-week institutes with stipends in which teachers delve into literature and explore classroom applications.

Shifflett couldn’t agree more; when sweltering weather arrives this year, he’ll be at the University of Maryland, scrutinizing the egg production of crabs.

A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2007 edition of Teacher

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Arizona School Data Analyst - (AZVA)
Arizona, United States
K12 Inc.
Software Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Professional Development Leader To Learn From How This District Leader Transformed Teacher PD
In Bakersfield, Calif., Jason Hodgson revamped teacher PD with a suite of customized, online courses taught mainly by district teachers.
8 min read
Jason Hodgson, director of professional development at the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District in Bakersfield, Calif., has revolutionized the district's teacher-professional development program.
Jason Hodgson, director of professional development at the Panama-Buena Vista Unified School District in Bakersfield, Calif.
Nick Agro for Education Week
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Whitepaper
Developing Professional Practices to Improve Student Outcomes Through Professional Learning Communities
This paper outlines the most effective ways for educators to develop their professional practices and improve student outcomes through pr...
Content provided by Learning Ally
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Whitepaper
COVID's Impact on K-12 Teaching and Learning
See more survey results and learn what other educators are prioritizing for 2021.
Content provided by Whetstone Education
Professional Development What Do Principals Want From Professional Development?
Only about a quarter of elementary school principals say they've had access to a mentor or coach in the last two years, a new report finds.
5 min read
Image shows a silhouette of a person learning, and the components to make that work is represented by gears.
iStock/Getty