Bringing employee experience in tech companies into the high school classroom

Bringing employee experience in tech companies into the high school classroom
Ben Anderson, a high school calculus teacher participates in Teachers in Industry during the summer.
Thursday, August 8, 2019 - 11:00am

As Arizona students head back to class in August, so too will a group of about 50 middle and high school teachers who spent the summer working in industry as part of the University of Arizona College of Education Teachers in Industry program. The business-education partnership is in its 11th year of placing experienced teachers in Arizona industries each summer. 

Ben Anderson, a high school calculus teacher, has participated in the Teachers in Industry program for two summers, working at Oro Valley-based Simpleview, a software and web development company focused on destination tourism. He says his experience doing data analysis at Simpleview has exposed him to many of the soft skills needed to work in industry, which he can in turn pass along to his students. "What I think is really important for my students to learn is what does it mean to be an employee at an up-and-coming tech company or a prominent tech company? What are the perks of those types of jobs; what are the expectations of you?" said Anderson, who previously taught at Marana High School and will start a new position at Ironwood Ridge High School this year. "So, I talk about soft skills. It's critical to be able to work in a group, and it's critical to be able to share information."

Teachers in Industry aims to prepare middle and high school students for future careers in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields. "Teachers have an extra tool in their toolbox to really say (to students) why math is important, why they're learning physics and how that can relate to the careers of the future, particularly in the areas of STEM," said Javier Lopez, director of the Teachers in Industry program.

This text is extracted from UA News, written by Alexis Blue. Read the full story here.