As discussed in Lesson 3.2, Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (SAAH) rules require work-based learning (WBL) teachers to visit each student's training site at least six times per school year and at least one time each grading period. These visits are critical to your evaluation of your students’ progress.
Read the following spotlight scenarios for some examples.
- review roles and responsibilities;
- confirm that the student's job responsibilities and level of supervision match those agreed upon in the training plan;
- discuss processes for communicating between the teacher-coordinator and the training sponsor;
- let the training sponsor know that he or she must contact the teacher-coordinator prior to making any changes in the student's training assignment or employment status;
- determine whether appropriate safety training has been completed; and
- answer any questions the training sponsor might have.
In addition, make sure the training sponsor understands the importance of notifying the teacher-coordinator of student absences from work, poor performance, and other problems in a timely manner. This enables the teacher and training sponsor to work together to address issues quickly.
Maintaining open, regular communication between the training sponsor and the teacher-coordinator is key to successful work-based learning experiences.
When planning and conducting training station visits, keep in mind that a student's work site is a place of business first. The following are key tips to remember:
- Schedule an appointment in advance with the training sponsor to meet at a mutually agreeable time.
- Dress professionally. Teachers should be good role models for student workers and be positive representatives for their school districts.
- Follow the employer's protocols and regulations for visitors, such as security and safety requirements.
- Once you arrive, determine if it is still a good time for the training sponsor to meet. If not, ask if it would be better to wait or reschedule.
- During the visit, be respectful of the training sponsor's time.
Employer Evaluation Forms
It is a good idea to send an evaluation form to the sponsor in advance of the training site visit. Some teachers ask employers to return evaluations via e-mail before the visit so the assessments can be reviewed in advance. Others prefer to review and discuss the employer's evaluation of the student during the visit. Regardless of the procedure, be respectful of the training sponsor's time.
Benefits of Having Evaluation Forms Returned Prior to the Visit
If an employer returns the evaluation form prior to your visit, you will have time to read the evaluation thoughtfully and note any items that need to be discussed. Then you can come to the training site visit prepared with additional questions, suggested strategies for addressing any challenges, and/or recommendations for further advancing a student's skill level.
Assessing Quality of Training Station and Observing Students at Work
A wise use of time during a visit will allow you to spend time assessing the quality of the training station and observing the student at work. You can also observe whether the site appears to be a safe work environment and if the students and employees are using the appropriate safety equipment in a proper manner. One of your most important responsibilities is to collaborate with the training sponsor to educate the student about job safety.
Section 10 of this course provides information to help ensure the safety of students engaged in WBL experiences.
WBL teacher Chuck Cuccaro takes notes during his training site visit for one of his students, and completes the training station narrative when he returns to school. He prepares a notetaking sheet before he makes the visit so that he covers all the necessary categories.
Training Site Visit Notes
Student Name: Roberto Diaz
Site Visit #: 2
Date: Oct. 14
Knows how to do job: Roberto has only been at the store for two weeks but his supervisor, Annamaria Judson, says he already knows how to restock shelves, work the register, and use the copier.
Productivity: No problems here. Roberto keeps busy during work hours and asks for assignments when he needs something to do.
Quality of work: If anything, Annamaria says Roberto is too hard on himself. He does a great job but worries he’s not doing enough.
Takes initiative: Annamaria says Roberto started noticing what needed restocking after a few days and always makes sure that there are no outstanding customer requests for copy orders.
Need for supervision: Roberto does a great job even when nobody is supervising him. He does seem to need reassurance that he’s doing a good job a little more than Annamaria would like.
Judgment on the job: Exercises good basic judgment. Needs more confidence.
Appearance: Always clean and neat and is well groomed. Annamaria seems satisfied. He could probably use some new clothes. Will talk to him about that.
Willingness to take feedback: Never any issues when given suggestions for improvement.
Attendance: Only late one day and called in to let Annamaria know he was having car problems. Will follow up on that with him to make sure it’s not an issue.
The end-of-year visit is also a good time to prepare the training sponsor for next year's students. The sponsor's willingness to continue will depend on his or her current experience with you and your students.
Training sponsors are usually very willing to accept new students if they have had regular, positive communications with you during each grading period and it they have observed student learners grow into productive, reliable employees.