STEM Teacher Externship Classroom Application

By: Nate Lahr

As a STEM Teacher Extern at Collins Aerospace in Manchester, my main project involves analyzing how a department operates and to look for a better flow of the work to increase productivity. I work primarily with two teams. Each of these teams have three stations and each station can handle most of the work that comes to the team, but there is certain work that can only be done on one of the stations and other work that can only be done on another of the stations. My goal is to put together a plan that allows for the work to flow more efficiently through this department with the equipment and operators that are available.

As a math teacher, the content I teach may be important for some students, but for the majority of my students it is more valuable to try and create a self-assessing learner through the content. The common question of “where am I going to use this?” pops in my mind a lot. With some, math content it is not suitable to be taught at a transfer level in the class. I have come to the realization that this is okay, not everything should be taught at the high of level. So in those instances, I have tried to reinforce the idea of becoming a stronger learner; using grit, problem solving skills, being reflective and using a multitude of other skills that could be used in any context.

I have seen and discussed with some production managers the value of finding those employees who are willing and wanting to learn. I have already gathered a few more success stories of employees like this who were on the floor last year and have now moved up to a new role such as engineer, quality inspector or engineering tech. These are valuable to me to try and reach students who are not interested in pursuing a four year degree, and help them see how far becoming a strong learner could help them open some new doors in the future. I can't wait to build on some of the things I implemented in my classes last year as I gain more insight through this placement this summer.


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