Educators work at area hospitals
Experience provides insights into expectations for THS graduates
Educators are usually geared toward preparing students for occupations after high school.
This summer, several Tonganoxie teachers hope that, by working in a different occupation, they will help strengthen that objective.
Tonganoxie High School teachers Pamela Arevalo, Lorelei Allen, Deborah Holloway, and junior high school teachers Leuinda Fields and Mary Dawson are involved in the Educators in Business and Industry Summer Externship Program. The externship places teachers in area businesses and is designed to update the educators' knowledge of current workplace environments to better prepare their students to be successful in life, on the job and in careers.
The Tonganoxie educators are among 148 teachers involved in the program that spans two weeks. Arevalo, Allen and Holloway are working at Cushing Memorial Hospital in Leavenworth; Fields and Dawson are at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.
Educators had to apply and submit letters of recommendation for the program.
Arevalo, a Spanish teacher at Tonganoxie, said the first week of work was an eye-opening experience.
"We've been there for a week and we haven't even gotten to the nursing department yet," Arevalo said. "It's like a community within a community."
Arevalo said the hospital offers a wide variety of opportunities, from administrative and food service to nursing. Personnel at Cushing Memorial Hospital also gave the teachers insight on skills that recent graduates need to improve.
"They say that many students are lacking work ethic and need to improve writing skills and mathematics," Arevalo said. "It's difficult to teach someone work ethic."
The concern in improving these areas is a generational trend for Arevalo. She said that each generation has given its children more than its parents did, and people are working less to get more.
"Maybe we need a more old-fashioned approach," Arevalo said.
The externship's first week has prepared the teachers in better understanding of what skills students need and what career paths students would be best suited for.
The hospital also provided an example of changing prerequisites for occupations. Previously, an assistant physical therapist needed an associate's degree, while a physical therapist required a bachelor's degree. Now, assistants need a bachelor's degree and a physical therapist needs a master's degree.
The local educators will conclude their session on Tuesday. Teachers from Leavenworth, Paola, Bonner Springs, Piper, Turner and some Missouri schools are also involved in the first session. Other sessions will be July 9-24 and July 16-31.