- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1136327
- First Name Michael
- Last Name Wyss
- Discipline Other: STEM, STEM
One of the greatest challenges for new teachers is learning to effectively network with others. Both vertical and horizontal networking with teachers is important, but also learning how to network with university faculty and vendors can be very helpful for the developing teacher, yet there is little curricular emphasis on this area.
This program provides multiple networking activities to the teachers in training, so that they are better prepared to interact productively with teachers, administrators and students.
CESAME provides teachers with maximal training to exploit networking opportunities, and they are given multiple opportunities to network during their training. This year we added national conferences in math and science education, to their opportunities. The opportunities included participation in the SE regional Noyce conference, working with faculty to plan and implement math and science camps for middle and high school students and observing veteran and master teachers in the classroom. In addition to summer workshops provided the Noyce teachers with the opportunity to learn next to very veteran teachers, CORD?s BioTeach and GeoTeach courses in which teachers can gain course credit and network with UAB professors, state STEM Education Specialists and other teachers, and gain certification in the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative. This year, CORD added networking opportunities for 8 Noyce students at NSTA and NCTM.
While such opportunities are not typically offered to students, the fellows were very responsive to the learning environment and indicated that they gained additional understanding of the national science and math teaching standards, as well as, materials and activities for inspiring learning in the classroom and incorporating engineering practices within the science and math lessons. Even more to them was the opportunities they had to meet other urban math and science teachers, discuss challenges, problem solve, share lessons, and learn how to implement different pedagogy methods. These networking opportunities provide multiple benefits to the Noyce teacher.
Often, the new teacher feels alone in the classroom and is unsure how to handle a failing student, how to manage a class of high energy students, or a class of uninterested students. They are often afraid to ask for help in their new school for fear of appearing ineffective. Networking facilitates the future teacher’s ability to reach out to others and to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other. Especially important is their realization of self-worth; they have something to share. Networking with experienced master teachers creates a professional community of learners and also allows the Noyce teacher to plan for common misconceptions in student learning and gain the confidence and success that will keep them in the classroom for years to come. While it is difficult to retain teachers in urban schools, networking training can provide the confidence they need to persevere at these schools, and thus provide excellent and sustained education opportunities to their students.