Teachers learn ropes of new trades as interns

Teachers across Shelby County carved out time of their summer vacations to go back to work, but in jobs away from the classroom.

The Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce invited businesses and teachers to take part in its Teacher Intern Program, set up to let teachers see what skills their students need to learn for the real world.

English and journalism teacher Jane Walker from Oak Mountain High School worked with Andy Evans at Man in the Maze Marketing in Hoover.

“Not every student in broadcast wants to go into journalism but through this program I’ve realized that I can teach them about similar careers like web design,” Walker said. “What I really want them to see is how to communicate through technology.”

Communication seemed to be key throughout the program. Sherry Owen at Minuteman Press worked with Natalie Jackson, English teacher at Shelby County High School.

“It was interesting because I taught English for 25 years so we had that common ground,” Owen said.

Just like Owen, it didn’t take Jackson long to jump right into the business of making business cards, signs and posters.

She even learned how to operate several of the printing machines and how to take electronic orders.

“We mostly talked about teaching her students the importance of learning to use computers and technology in the workplace,” Owen said. “It’s important because so many customers now want to do everything via computers.

Walker said she learned how to run her classroom like a business. She said Evans suggested setting up projects like a competition, with teams presenting mockups of each product.

“Looking at the classroom like a business makes sense because it lets them see what the real world is like,” Walker said.