Teachers Become Students

Teachers learn industrial skills at Northrop Grumman. Teachers plan to use their new skills to help students learn in the classroom.

23 teachers from schools throughout Mississippi traded in their chalk for welding rods. It's part of a program called "Research Experiences in Industry".

The program gives teachers a chance to find out first hand the skills students need to be successful in industrial jobs. This year's host is Northrop Grumman Shipyard in Pascagoula.

"Can you imagine going from teaching a kindergartner, to learning how to weld. Now this is how to spend your summer," said Peggy Webb a computer teacher at Choctaw High School.

Learning these skills will help teachers give real world examples of the lessons they're teaching in the classroom. Many of them believe that will spark students' interest in learning.

"I can stand up here all day and say you can use this skill later but if I say you can use this skill to measure so you can cut a piece of metal you can use this on the job," says Webb.

"It's a lot of different."

"If you give them a real world situation they're gung-ho," says Paula Windham a Biology teacher at New Albany High School.

"They come in there. They're ready to learn. What else are you gonna teach me? How does this happen? What does this do? It makes a complete difference in your classroom atmosphere."

"They allow us to go into industry and find areas where you apply daily mathematics principles such as the Pythagorean theorem. They use that in pipe fitting all the time," says Math teacher Beverly Watson.

Northrop Grumman officials also see the value of these programs.

"You gotta know how to figure offsets, figure out the angles but it helps the students because they can say hey now I know why I've got to do this rather than I've got to do this and remember it til I pass a test," says Dr. Larry Crane Director of Workforce training.

By: Josh Ridgdell