LAURINBURG — WStudents may be a couple of weeks away yet from the start of school, but teachers are looking at their final weekend before heading to their classrooms.
One of those teachers is Monica Whitehead, who teaches several Career and Technical Education courses at the high school including drafting I and II, technology, engineering and design, and technological design. She was also the 2017-18 teacher of the year.
While the students were enjoying their breaks from school, Whitehead was working and learning to help bring ideas back into her classroom. One thing she did was working for Service Thread. She worked the second shift, 3 to 11 p.m., for six weeks to learn more about manufacturing.
“I’m very grateful for Jay Todd for hiring me and letting me be the student rather than the teacher,” Whitehead said. “When I go back into the classroom I’ll be better prepared to teach my students.”
While Whitehead does think her students will find it funny that she spent six weeks working on a manufacturing line learning to make the thread, she hopes they’ll get more out of it.
“It’s an example that as you get out of school or get older to never stop learning,” Whitehead said. “Hopefully they’ll learn to step out of their comfort zone.”
She also didn’t let the summer keep her from working with students, though they were a bit younger than her normal students. As part of the CTE camp held by the Scotland County Schools, Whitehead taught “Adventures in Architecture.”
“It was great to work with younger kids and plant some seeds in their minds about architecture,” Whitehead said.
While she worked with younger students over the summer she’s working on preparing her upcoming students for the real world. By looking over previous lessons Whitehead created several more projects for her students to work on.
“It’s not a lecture based class where they’re just taking notes, it’s a hands-on project-based class,” Whitehead said. “I’ve been learning Revit Two to be able to teach it to my students. We’re also going to be working a lot more with 3D printing.”
One of Whitehead’s teaching methods is to use Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports to encourage her students to not only form good habits and do their work but also do the right thing and be good people. She also encourages her students to do their best on their projects and has a “Wall of Fame” in the classroom where three pieces of work from each project get chosen to go on the wall.
“The works chose for the Wall of Fame have to be close to perfect,” Whitehead said. “The students get very competitive and work hard in order to try and make it on the wall.”
The Wall of Fame shows the work that the students do but other than that wall when someone walks into Whitehead’s classroom it doesn’t look like a typical class. The room is structured more like an engineer’s office with 21 large drafting tables and two 3D printers.
Besides looking like an engineering office, students are also able to be certified in Autocad, which is a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application. Last year Whitehead had 22 of her students certified in the program and she hopes to have more this year.
“It gives them a leg up when they’re in an interview,” Whitehead said. “The certification shows that they’ve spent time and mastered the program.”
The school year starts back on Aug. 27 for Scotland County Schools.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]