The McAfee Adventures of a Middle School Teacher

By Lori, AVID Teacher, Haggard Middle School

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen. – A.A. Milne

My own adventure from the classroom and into corporate America began with an email from my school district – Plano ISD. To enrich the classroom-to-career connection, PISD partnered up with the Mayor’s Summer Internship Program to pilot the Teacher Externship Program. It was a no-brainer. I jumped on the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals to make sure my middle school teachings aligned with the demands of the workplace.

McAfee, a corporate partner of the program, generously hosted me for two weeks. Determined to absorb all I could, I shadowed someone different within the Human Resources department each day during an especially exciting time. McAfee was in the midst of transitioning to an independent company, so Human Resources was hard at work getting new processes and procedures in place and standing up their new company culture and values.

As I listened in to the teams and individuals, the importance and relevance of McAfee’s values struck me. McAfee’s values include:

  • We innovate without fear.
  • We play to win or we don’t play.
  • We achieve excellence with speed and agility.
  • We practice inclusive candor and transparency.
  • We put the customer at the core.

Let me share how these corporate values translate into my daily teachings.

We innovate without fear.

McAfee Meaning: Don’t hesitant to try something new. Experiment to find a better way of achieving results. Embrace your failures and learn from them.

Teacher Takeaway: Thinking outside the box is something educators constantly encourage. We also try to be mindful about our approach to failure. It is not something to be feared, but instead treated as a learning opportunity.

We play to win or we don’t play.

McAfee Meaning: Give it your all. Go in confidently. Fully invest in your work.

Teacher Takeaway: Initially, you might do a double take about this value, but when you consider McAfee’s meaning, it is something teachers bring into the classroom and encourage among our staff. It boils down to going all in and giving it your best, no matter what. As an educator, I am trying to prepare responsible citizens who have a passion and give it their best.

We achieve excellence with speed and agility.

McAfee Meaning: Commit to quality. Be nimble. Adjust as needed.

Teacher Takeaway: This one hit home for me. We want our students to grow and develop under our instruction as problem-solvers. Students should know how to construct meaning, address problems and make decisions deploying different thinking strategies. We want to shape critical thinkers who address problems effectively and can switch course as needed.

We practice inclusive candor and transparency.

McAfee Meaning: Celebrate differences. Communicate clearly with respect.

Teacher Takeaway: The importance of helping students communicate effectively quickly became evident. The workplace values employees who express themselves concisely and actively listen. We also need to teach our students to do this with integrity and fidelity.

We put the customer at the core.

McAfee Meaning: Every customer is important. Proactively meet the customer’s needs and anticipate needs before they even arise.

Teacher Takeaway: As educators, we place our students at the center of everything we do. Our decisions are predicated on, what is best for our students? They rest at the center of vision and mission statements. This means going beyond just preparing them for the test next week or at the end of the year, but for the future they envision.

My time at McAfee encouraged me to examine the systems and structures within my own classroom through a different lens. I’m reminded students need knowledge, but also need skills like creativity, analytical thinking, interpersonal communications and adaptability in their arsenal. Witnessing the creation of McAfee’s core values rejuvenated my dedication to setting and clearly articulating goals, norms and values in my classroom for my students, peers, and school.

A big thank you to the McAfee team for allowing me to join you for two weeks. My adventure in the corporate world better equipped me to prepare my students for career success. And who knows? Maybe their own adventures will take them to McAfee!

For more stories like Lori’s, follow @McAfee on Twitter.

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