- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1851631
- First Name Beverly
- Last Name Smith
- Discipline Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
M. Moin Uddin, Scott Kirkby
Beverly J. Smith, M. Moin Uddin, Scott Kirkby, Jamie Price, and Mark Giroux
All of the schools in the eastern tip of Tennessee are high needs schools with a large population of low income students. These schools find it difficult to hire highly-qualified Chemistry, Physics, and Math teachers. Although East Tennessee State University, the dominant public 4-year University in the eastern tip of Tennessee, graduates a good number of undergraduates with these majors each year, very few of these students are interested in teaching high school as a profession. Our goal is the increase the fraction of STEM majors interested in teaching as a profession.
Many STEM majors don’t consider teaching as a possible career in part because of fear of classroom management issues. We investigate whether training in classroom management techniques helps reduce this anxiety, and therefore increases the chance that a student will consider a teaching career.
We partner with local science museums, camps, and science education institutions to provide STEM majors with summer teaching internships. We provide the interns with training in classroom management as part of a structured internship program. Each intern is assigned a local teacher as a mentor to support and guide them in their internship.
Our Noyce grant also provides scholarships to the Masters of Arts in Teaching program for STEM majors. We have had some success in recruiting the undergraduate interns into the MAT program. We have expanded the summer intern program into the school year by adding a Physics Ambassador program, in which Physics majors visit local schools during the school year. This Ambassador program is supported by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The Ambassador program seems to act as a recruitment tool for the summer internship program, helping to boost the number of Physics majors participating in the summer intern program.
The ETSU STEM teacher recruitment program is helping to address the critical shortage of STEM educators in the southern Appalachian region. The activities in this program are building a strong network and developing partnerships to support the long-term goal of recruiting and retaining STEM teachers in the region.