Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Educators Gain `Real World' Experience Summer Jobs Are Way to Chalk Up Experience

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Educators Gain `Real World' Experience Summer Jobs Are Way to Chalk Up Experience

Article excerpt

Drafting teacher Chris Pagel said he hadn't done any serious

drafting in seven years and was forgetting the basics.

So instead of lifeguarding this summer, the Fernandina Beach

High School teacher decided to go back to the drawing board.

He's spending his summer working for an architect, thanks to a

Teacher Quest scholarship. Pagel, of Nassau County, and six

other Jacksonville area teachers -- two more from Nassau, two

from Duval, one from St. Johns and one from Clay -- are working

in the fields they teach in this summer. A 10-year-old

$700,000-a-year program called Teacher Quest is paying 40

percent of their salaries.

Teacher Quest is run by Technological Research and Development

Authority in Titusville, an agency of the state. Employers who

agree to hire teachers for the summer have some costs

reimbursed. The hope is to encourage employers to give teachers

a chance to enhance their knowledge of science, math and

computers and gain real-world experience to carry back to

students in the fall.

In the past, Teacher Quest has offered a 50/50 split with

employers. But due to dwindling funding, employers were asked to

pay 60 percent this year. The program is funded with 25 percent

of the proceeds Challenger license plate sales, which have

dropped off in recent years.

Scholarships were given to 194 Florida teachers this summer.

About 300 teachers applied. Usually, teachers find their own

jobs, like Pagel did.

Pagel, working for architect Michael Richardson of Fernandina

Beach, said he had met Richardson years ago and knew he did all

kinds of architectural projects.

"I wanted a huge, shotgun-blast of experience," said Pagel, 36,

who last week worked on a home renovation plan and said he's

been massaging a sore hand at night. "Here I am, back with a

pencil in my hand for eight hours. It sounds kind of wimpy, but

it really hurts your hand."

Richardson said he was planning to hire a high school student

for the summer anyway. …

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