This Year's Teacher Appreciation Week Elevates Recognition of Teacher Contributions Like Never Before – Companies Have a Role to Play in Supporting Them

Michele Robinson-Pontbriand, Director Corporate Social Responsibility
May 5, 2020 1:00 PM ET
Blog

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States, and it sure will be a memorable one! As I write this, UNESCO estimates that more than 70% of students around the world are impacted by educational institution closures due to COVID-19. In the U.S. alone, Education Week estimates that over 55 million students are out of school. Many have transitioned to home-based eLearning to continue their education and teachers are on the frontlines of this challenge — reimagining their coursework for a new reality, learning different online tools fast, trying to keep students engaged remotely and in some cases managing their own children’s home-schooling efforts. It’s a handful for sure. In appreciation of their tremendous efforts, I applaud all teachers around the globe!

As a parent myself, I have always appreciated the patience and perseverance needed to teach children the critical, core subject skills required to be successful adults. As a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professional in the tech industry, I also recognize the opportunity that extended science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education can provide for long-term individual and community prosperity. So, as I try to channel the patience of teachers into guiding my own child’s academic development through eLearning at home, I am also happy to work for a company that continues to provide resources and opportunities that broaden STEM engagement for school-aged children.

For its part, Keysight’s STEM education efforts span ages and demographics, offering a mix of corporate sponsorship, hands-on materials and employee volunteer engagement to help teachers drive interest in these fields of study. You can learn more about the company’s efforts on our Communities Web page, but what I have particularly appreciated is the ability to support local teachers, as an employee volunteer, and extend their efforts to educate our future leaders.

I am also energized by how the company has extended STEM support geographically, socio-economically and to younger age groups where early STEM intervention has shown promise. In this 2019/2020 school year, the company initiated 2 pilot partnerships:

  • Working with the primary education team of Bit Project — an open source technical education student organization at the University of California Davis — the company provided Keysight After School kits and volunteers to help university students distribute STEM education content to teachers and accommodate hands-on learning in K-5th grade classes.
  • Through Science Buddies, a U.S.-based 501c3 non-profit, the company has supported teachers in under-resourced communities by delivering STEM education materials and curriculum to Title 1 schools ranging from grade 2 through high school, and by enabling student connections to technology professionals and role models through volunteer programs.

While Keysight’s in-person education engagements in this school year were cut short by the pandemic, employee volunteers continue to engage with online STEM mentoring through Science Buddies’ “Ask an Expert” efforts and other creative approaches to remote STEM learning using Keysight contributed materials. It’s a role corporations can, and should, continue to play in support of teacher efforts to maintain educational advancements in the current situation.

Teachers are a critical part of the educational journey from youth to adulthood. While I have always held the work of teachers in very high regard, the current situation has certainly elevated my appreciation of their contributions. And I am happy to work for a corporation that supports their efforts to help build strong students and future leaders.