Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 6 Reflection ED 722 - Students in the Adult World: Real Learning for Real Life

In 1996 my parents asked me what I wanted to do after college.  In my mind my response was simple or at least I thought it was.  I told them I wanted to serve in the military and then become an aeronautical engineer with NASA and be the first female astronaut from the Coast Guard.

Now if I was my parent back in 1996, I would have had a good chuckle with this response.  I probably would not have laughed out loud, but I would have definitely thought in my mind that my child was shooting really high when it came to her goals.  As a parent now I know that parents need to encourage our children to set goals, but are you kidding me with what I set for myself back then?  Oh my goodness!

When I look back, I never remember my parents telling me that something was not possible.  I do remember their response after I told them what I wanted to do after college.  They said if that is what I wanted to do then they wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was getting into.  They took me to the library and began researching with me the different opportunities that were available as far as internships or shadowing experiences for high school students.  My parents wanted me to live a day or a few days in the life of an aeronautical engineering.  I say it often and I will say it again, thank goodness for my parents!

With their help I was able to shadow an aeronautical engineer from NASA.  Not just any old aeronautical engineer though, but the inventor of the year that year for NASA who created flexible ceramic.  After viewing the following video in my ED 722 course about internships in the real world, it brought back so many memories of my own experience.

I did not pursue a career in aeronautical engineer.  I actually did not even pursue a career in engineer at all.  It was because of my experience that I decided not to, but not because of what I saw engineers during, but because I realized it was not the right fit for me.  If I would never have had that opportunity, I could have potentially pursued a career that was not meant for me.

Internships provide students the opportunity to put their studies to use in the real world.  There are many careers today that require students to complete an internship before they can graduate from programs or receive certificates.  Teachers, electricians, medical professionals are just a few that come to mind. 

I had amazing parents who helped me figure out at a young age what career would best fit me.  As an educator though, I realize that there are some parents who are not as involved as mine were.  In addition, some students and even some adults have no idea what they want to do with their lives.  Internships provide that trial period that allows individuals to see if a career is something they want to do.  They get to put their education into action and experience hands on learning at the same time.

In order to help prepare myself as a parent, but also as an educator, I began researching current internships that exist for students.  I created a Storify that provides information about different programs currently available.  I plan to share this information with my students and hopefully encourage them to set goals and take advantage of the many opportunities that exist with internships and shadowing programs.

Internships provide students with deeper learning opportunities.  What better way to apply content learned in the classroom then with real world experiences!

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