Host a Teacher Externship

As summer approaches, PENCIL partners may wonder how they can stay involved with Metro Schools and continue to make an impact even though school is out. One of our favorite ways to engage is to host a Teacher Externship.

MNPS Coordinator of STEAM and Science, Deanna Privett, shared this definition of the Teacher Externship: 

“The externship provides teacher teams with the opportunity to create an interdisciplinary, Project-Based unit connected to the real-world work of the business partner.  While business partners collaborate with teachers to provide the work experiences of their world, teacher teams make natural connections to their content area standards for students to develop a project during the school year.  Therefore, by engaging teachers to the real-world experiences of the business partner, they gain the knowledge to create a classroom environment for students to be able to apply the learning in an authentic, meaningful way.”

One example comes to us from Glencliff High School and their PENCIL Partner, ESa – Earl Swensson Associates, Inc., a nationally recognized architecture firm located here in Nashville. Tara Myers from ESa describes the firm’s Teacher Externship from last summer: 

“For our most recent externship experience, we [Esa] hosted a group of EL (English Learner) teachers from Glencliff along with the Academy Coach and Academy Lead teacher. The teachers spent a day at our office, half a day with the Nashville Civic Design Center, and another half day at Tennessee State University touring the new Health Sciences building.

While in our office, we gave them an overview of the design process and how we incorporate concepts of wellness and sustainability into our projects and introduced them to the technology we use, including 3D BIM modeling and Virtual Reality. We were also able to showcase many of our processes and ideas in a tour of one of our projects, which happens to be on the campus of another Glencliff Business Partner, TSU.”

When a PENCIL Partner considers hosting a Teacher Externship, it’s critical to acknowledge the mutually beneficial experience it can provide for both parties. Privett shared:  

“By hosting an externship, the business partner becomes a valuable, collaborative partner with the school community.  Schools not only rely on the expertise of the business partner to help teachers and students grow, but also to help deepen the connection between the business and local community. By bringing the business and school communities together, we hope for sustained partnerships for years to come.”

The testimonial from Myers about ESa’s externship further proves that business partners can gain just as much as teachers: 

“Through this experience, ESa gained a stronger relationship with teachers in our Academy, who we had not had the opportunity to interact with as much in the past. We also gained a better understanding of the student population at Glencliff along with the challenges they face and ways we could improve our partnership with the school.

Teachers, as participants, gained insights into several of the Academy’s business partners’ workplaces and explored ways to better connect their EL classes with the underlying theme of the Academy. They also formed new relationships with those business partners and gained an understanding of how to use these business partners as future resources.”

Though Teacher Externships exist across the high school landscape in Nashville, there are options for teachers and partners in earlier grades as well. STEAM Expeditions are a great way to for MNPS STEAM Middle Schools to engage with community partners over the summer, and we always encourage PENCIL Partners to consider supporting MNPS Promising Scholars and Summer School programs.  

To learn more or become an externship host, contact your PENCIL Partnership Manager or