Here are answers to some of the most common questions we get. If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to contact us!
What is the time commitment?
This depends on the amount of time that the EIR volunteer and teacher has available. On average, EIRs visit the class once per month to facilitate an activity, do a presentation or support STEM learning in some other way. EIRs should expect to commit 2-4 hours per month for in-class visits, prep and planning time.
What does the program delivery typically look like?
There is no cookie-cutter approach at the EIR program. The EIR and the primary contact teacher work out what makes sense based on the school’s needs and the engineer’s schedule and strengths.
EIRs can run hands-on activities, do lab demos, give presentations on engineering and what it means to be an engineer, help with special projects, take students on field trips to their work place, give career advice, and help forge links between the school and industry. Our EIRs often start working in one classroom, and end up going to five or even more. Some EIRs help organize school-wide activities. Some will do a different activity every time they come in and some will work on year-long projects. The emphasis in all cases is on engaging students in the STEM subjects, raising awareness of the engineering profession, curriculum-links, and providing a real-life connection to classroom theory.
The expectations from the school don’t seem to be aligned with what I understood. What now?
Setting expectations between the school teacher and the EIR program volunteer is key to a successful year. We highly recommend that you have a planning meeting BEFORE in-class visits start so that you can make sure expectations are clear and aligned. If you’re looking for information to help inform those discussions, you can check out the following videos: Intro to the EIR program (for teachers), Intro to the EIR program (for EIRs).
These FAQ’s are a great resources too!
If you are still having trouble with misunderstandings or expectations, please contact us directly ([email protected]) so that we can help.
It’s already November (or December, or even February!) and I haven’t made it into the classroom yet. Is it too late to start?
The program officially launches each year in September. A lot of EIRs and teachers wait until after the fall orientation session (usually mid-September) is done before they get started. But, it’s really never too late to start. Even in you only make it into the classroom ONE time before the end of the year – that’s still an opportunity to connect with kids and create some positive STEM experiences! The best way to answer this questions is – ask your teacher! If they can find a period to fit you in, great! Our advise – don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “good” 🙂
I’ve been trying to contact my teacher/EIR/principal and am not getting any response. What now?
Let us know! We connect you via email, so that will be your first available method to connect. But, if that doesn’t work we can get involved and try calling. Often times, there are email firewalls, or filters in place so the intended recepient may not be getting the message. There are also rare cases where there’s been a change to someone’s situations (new job, which may mean a new email address) that impact communications.
I’m still waiting for my police check!
For EIR volunteers in Toronto, you will need to contact us directly (at [email protected]) as the Toronto Police check process is slightly different that everywhere else in Ontario.
Otherwise, you will need to contact your local police to see if they can give you an update on the status. Unfortunately we have limited-to-no visibility!
I missed orientation (or only got paired after orientation was done) What now?
Not to worry! We’ve got you covered. We record the orientation session and make it available for you to watch in the comfort of your own home. You can find it on the EIR Resources page. And, if you still have questions, or are just not sure where to start – please connect with us directly. Email the program office at [email protected] – we’re here to help!
How much does the program cost?
The program is offered FREE of charge! Thanks to our generous sponsors!
How do we set up the program?
After a careful application process, the Engineer-in-Residence program matches a volunteer engineer with a school based on criteria provided on the application forms. After we find an appropriate match, we introduce the engineer to the primary contact teacher at that school. The two meet to plan visits and activities for the year. The EIR does not just go into the one classroom; the primary contact teacher should introduce the EIR to other teachers and staff, so that the whole school can benefit from the EIR presence.
The EIR program office offers resources and guidance to help with set-up and with planning throughout the year.
How do we initiate contact with our EIR volunteer or teacher?
The EIR program office sends out an introductory email connecting the EIR volunteer and the teacher in June (prior to the September program launch). This email contains important information and details next steps. If you did not receive an email, please contact the EIR Program office at [email protected]
How are schools and engineers matched?
The EIR program office matches engineers with schools in their area based on criteria provided on the application forms. The EIR meets with the primary contact teacher and together they decide if it’s a good fit.