Kenan Fellows Voices: Tasha Martinez

spinning-01-webBEULAVILLE – When I learned I was going to be interning at the National Spinning Company, I thought about the ways I was going to bring what I learned back to my classroom. A few days into the internship, I realized the Kenan Fellows Program has mutual benefits for educators and industry experts. I learned that the National Spinning Company could also benefit from my expertise as an educator.

My mentor, Chris Jarman, mentioned the company was hiring 40 to 50 people to fill available positions because of the addition of 12 hour shifts. With that change, I would become the eyes and ears of the trainer as well as a voice of the new hires. Each day I met with new hires to learn how they were adjusting to their positions. I would report any issues to the training manager who would adjust their schedules or provide them with additional training if necessary. I was also assigned to help recruit employees. At least once a week, I went to Mega Force to help screen employees, sit in on interviews, and select suitable candidates.  I also went to James Sprunt Commuinty College to follow potential candidates through the HRD course that is a requirement of National Spinning Company.

My summer internship with the National Spinning Company taught me so much about the textile industry as well as about the people in my school’s community, their work ethic, and the importance of communication. With all that I have learned, I plan to begin teaching my students more of the “soft skills” such as professionalism, effective communication and accountability. These are skills they will need in order to succeed in the working world.

This experience also reaffirmed the importance of reinforcing those basic math, reading and problem solving skills. Every day that I was on site at the National Spinning Company, I saw math being used in everything from purchase orders to spreadsheets that tracked the performance of employees. As a sixth-grade teacher, I want to heighten my students’ awareness of the unlimited opportunities that await them if they have an education.

2015–16 Kenan Fellow Tasha Martinez teaches sixth grade at Warsaw Middle School in Duplin County. Her Kenan fellowship was supported by Duplin County Schools and the Wells Fargo Foundation.