For some, Feb. 2 calls to mind Groundhog Day and shadow-inspired weather forecasts. For 40 GCPS teachers from the district’s seven Academy high schools, the day brought them an opportunity to “shadow” partners in the business community.
Planned for National Job Shadowing Day, the event took the teachers into the community to learn about different jobs, workplace trends, skill requirements for their students, and opportunities in industries related to their subject. In the day-long “externships,” theory met hands-on practice as the teachers learned how their classroom lessons apply in the workplace. Depending on their area of study, participants spent the day talking to CEOs, entrepreneurs, creative types, marketers, engineers, and detectives. The 24 partners offered perspectives on a broad spectrum of businesses and organizations… from medical fields and manufacturing to IT and theater.
“With first-hand exposure, teachers can design and implement classroom activities, projects, and work-based learning opportunities that will add relevance and meaning to students’ classroom learning,” says Chris Nedza, GCPS’ coordinator of Academy Business Partnerships.
He says the connections made with the job-shadow event help strengthen the relationships between students, educators, and industry partners. The participating teachers also got a fresh perspective on how their curriculum ties into real-world applications.
Randy Crutchfield, a language arts teacher at Lanier High School, says that he and his colleagues left their externship at Marbury Creative with ideas for helping students connect their learning in the school’s Multimedia Communications and Fine Arts Academy with real-world expectations. “More than anything, seeing the Marbury team at work validates all that we are attempting to implement with Project Based Learning (PBL),” he says. “Their core skills include creativity, collaboration, and effective communication. Their methods are structured so that they can approach complex problems with an open mind and arrive at multiple solutions, rather than one right answer. It's exactly what we are trying to achieve with PBL.”
“The job shadow was simply amazing!” said Matt Huffman, who teaches business and finance courses in South Gwinnett High School’s Business Administration and Entrepreneurship Academy. He shadowed the CEO and the controller for 124 Group, a group of metro Atlanta salons and cosmetology schools. “I was able to brainstorm with both Brian and David on how to implement what I learned from them into the classroom, and I am looking forward to putting it to practice.”
In these photos, follow along with some of our teachers as they explore the workplace on National Job Shadowing Day.