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  1. Sheila Vaidya
  2. Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Drexel University
  1. Alyson Demas
  2. Program Manager
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Drexel University
  1. Christopher Farnaro
  2. Graduate Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS

Preparting STEM Teachers for Middle School

NSF Awards: 1758345

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8

Recruitment is a critical component of our Noyce Middle School Teacher Preparation program. How do we get STEM majors interested in learning to teach? How do we determine prospective teacher's capacity to be ambitious teachers who will want to be innovative in the classroom? This video will address the recruitment strategies we have invented including the collaborations to recruit middle school STEM teachers. 

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 01:32 p.m.

    Hi Sheila, it was great to hear about your recruitment efforts for pre-service middle school STEM teachers. What would you say is your biggest barrier to recruiting students for your preparation program? What has been successful in convincing STEM majors to consider a career in teaching?

  • Icon for: Sheila Vaidya

    Sheila Vaidya

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 02:58 p.m.

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thank you for your question. I would say that the major barrier is that there is another Noyce Funded grant  which (when they applied) was supposed to recruit Engineering students - but requested to recruit Math and Science teachers because they were not able to get Engineering students and received NSF approval for this. - this impacts our recruitment because we are recruiting from the same group. What has been successful is a course on Teaching which has got students interested and they are asking questions about acquiring teaching credentials. 

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jonathan Margolin
  • Icon for: Christopher Farnaro

    Christopher Farnaro

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:54 a.m.

    Hi Jonathan,

    Through interacting with students in their discipline specific 101 courses I would say their perceptions of teaching is a large factor to recruiting. Whether it is what teaching really looks like, opportunities outside of the classroom, or salary many students are unaware of the realities.

    Hearing from other programs and seeing our students in the field there is always an excitement once STEM majors are in front of kids sharing their passion. It is hard to not want to continue with coursework when get to engage in hands on lessons with students.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jonathan Margolin
  • May 7, 2020 | 09:26 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your recruitment work. Regarding the challenge of students not being aware of teaching realities, you might check out resources from an NSF-funded partnership called Get the Facts Out (https://getthefactsout.org/) around dispelling teaching myths to aid in recruiting.

  • Icon for: Michael Haney

    Michael Haney

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 03:37 p.m.

    I'm curious what grade level you target.  I would guess that typical STEM majors are pretty locked into their academic track in their freshman and maybe sophomore years.  There might be a lot more soul searching after freshman year and the students who have an interest in STEM might not be as certain they want to commit a lifetime to a particular STEM field.  As a principal, I found scientists who had been in the field just a year or two were sometimes looking for teaching positions, but, of course, they didn't have teaching credentials.  There might be similar angst around the end of sophomore year.  Just a thought.  

  • Icon for: Sheila Vaidya

    Sheila Vaidya

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 08:46 p.m.

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for your question. We used to target Sophomores and Juniors but now we target Freshmen because they have room in their curriculum and can start taking electives before they are juniors when they begin to get Noyce scholarships. 

  • Icon for: Rebecca Vieyra

    Rebecca Vieyra

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:12 p.m.

    Dear Sheila and Team,

    This is such important work!

    Reaching out to groups on campus and increasing teacher prep program awareness are important (so I'm great to hear you are serving as a network hub between programs and departments). One thing I've learned about K-12 STEM teaching recruitment, however, is that the contents of the messaging is also really important.

    For example, many STEM majors are interested in teaching, but often choose against the field because of particular misconceptions or incomplete understandings (not realizing the job benefits -- including financial benefits -- of teaching, not understanding comparisons between private STEM sector jobs and teaching, etc.).

    So, in this vein, how do you combat the negative perceptions of K-12 teaching that some undergraduates might have about STEM teaching? 

    Additionally, I would encourage you to take a look at GetTheFactsOut.org, which is working in parallel with your efforts, but is specifically focused on changing conversations around STEM teacher recruitment by addressing misconceptions of STEM faculty. (Far too often, we find that the negative perceptions of K-12 STEM teaching are unfortunately fostered by some faculty who feel it is a "lesser" option that going into research).

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    June Teisan
  • Icon for: Sheila Vaidya

    Sheila Vaidya

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 08:46 p.m.

    Rebecca,

    You are so accurate- I have sensed the negative attitudes and misconceptions of STEM discipline faculty about teaching, they are also so subtle that there is no opportunity for an open conversation. Thank you for sharing the information about the GetTheFactsOut.org, I will certainly check it out and appreciate your understanding of the critical nature of our work for the sake of the country's future generations of students.  

  • Icon for: Christopher Farnaro

    Christopher Farnaro

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:59 a.m.

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for the information on GetTheFactsOut.org. We have looked at incorporating some of this information in our presentations to STEM majors. 

    Being part of this program for me has been interesting as my undergraduate degree is in Chemical Engineering and I was a Noyce scholar in an alternative certification program. I share my first hand experiences with undergraduates about my time in industry and making the transition to teaching. One thing I try to focus on in my presentations is ways that I infused my passions into teaching. For example, I was able to start a variety of STEM focused clubs and coach to see a different side of my students outside of the classroom. Lastly, I try to be very up front about the pros and cons of teaching over industry work in my conversations with students. 

  • Icon for: Sheila Vaidya

    Sheila Vaidya

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 08:54 p.m.

    Hi Jonathan, thank you for your question. I would say that the major barrier to our recruiting is that there is another Noyce project which was supposed to recruit Engineering students but is recruiting Mathematics and Science students because they were unable to get Engineering students. This cuts into our recruitment as we are both trying to recruit from the same limited numbers. We are now working together and telling students about the two separate programs. What has been successful is the teaching course we are offering - which students seem to enjoy and are asking questions about going into teaching. 

  • Icon for: Rebecca Vieyra

    Rebecca Vieyra

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 06:56 a.m.

    Dear Sheila and Christopher, 

    Thanks for both of your responses! Having a limited population from which to draw is always problematic, and it seems as though math and science are always competing with engineering. In this case, have you looked at expanding your pool to include area high schools? It seems to me that it would possibly more effective to work with incoming seniors, to help them consider a career in teaching before they even declare a major. Some students don't want to study technical STEM fields, but might be drawn to them because of the opportunity to become a teacher. 

    Talking about perceptions, not only do we find that STEM faculty often promote myths about K-12 teaching, but we also find that secondary STEM teachers sometimes discourage their students from considering a career in teaching because they themselves don't know what other job markets or working conditions are like. (What I'm saying is that it's extremely productive to get K-12 teachers in the same room with private industry folks -- in our experience, teachers often walk away surprised with how satisfied they are with their jobs. I realize this is NOT always the case, but these conversations are absolutely worth having).

    I'm originally from Illinois, and at one point the state physics and chemistry teaching organizations banded together to create simple brochures and booklets for teachers to put in their classrooms on the board for students to take. I had two students who eventually became science teachers, in part, I believe, because we were able to have conversations that were spurred by those recruitment materials.

  • May 8, 2020 | 11:06 a.m.

    Interesting work - we have a Noyce research project that has involved surveying and interviewing Noyce teachers all over the country to learn about their personal networks, self-efficacy, and retention. I wonder if your work has led to any insights into the motivation of potential STEM teachers - any thoughts on the factors STEM students consider most important when deciding to teach?  Any ideas about what typically dissuades potential STEM teachers who ultimately decide not to become teachers? 

  • Icon for: June Teisan

    June Teisan

    Informal Educator
    May 9, 2020 | 05:00 p.m.

    The work of recruiting passionate STEM educators for the critical middle school years is vital! Thank you for addressing this problem. 

  • Icon for: Sheila Vaidya

    Sheila Vaidya

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 9, 2020 | 05:54 p.m.

    June,

    Thank you for your comment.

  • Icon for: Doug Scott

    Doug Scott

    K-12 Teacher
    May 11, 2020 | 02:58 p.m.

    Important that we recruit and cultivate future #stem teachers.  This @nsf project reminds me of how important this is. Solid engineering teachers are especially tough to find. You got a vote from me via: https://twitter.com/mrscottbot/status/1259920494897303552

  • Icon for: Sheila Vaidya

    Sheila Vaidya

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2020 | 03:45 p.m.

    Thank you !!!

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

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