- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758325
- First Name Lynn
- Last Name Hodge
- Discipline Math, Other: Secondary Sciences
Kane Barker, Pellissippi State Community College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Long, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, email@example.com
Susan Riechert, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Kim, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, email@example.com; Shande King, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lynn Hodge, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, email@example.com
Teacher shortages across the United States in secondary schools is a well-known concern for policy-makers, administrators, and teacher education programs. The problem is often two-fold as it is difficult to recruit highly-qualified teachers as well as to retain the effective teachers already in schools. The absence of STEM teachers in secondary schools is a major concern moving forward as these teachers are usually the ones to leave the profession the fastest due to various reasons such difficulty teaching the STEM subjects to all students. Recruiting STEM teachers is further complicated when trying to staff underrepresented urban and rural communities. VolsTeach for Appalachia aims to provide this large rural community with highly-qualified STEM teachers who intend to stay in those rural communities.
1) How does a teacher education program recruit STEM teachers from surrounding community colleges that may not have education programs available? 2) What identities do these future STEM teachers possess that motivates them to teach and remain in rural communities? 3) What type of experiences motivate STEM majored college students to consider teaching in STEM fields?
This project is in the beginning phase of implementation. Currently, we have recruited 15 college students, namely community college students, through visiting local community college mathematics classes as well as reaching out to other surrounding community college mathematics departments. We have also reached out to local high schools to gather interest from upcoming community college freshman. These students are STEM majors with some interest in teaching. We aim to gather data through video transcriptions from this month long internship as well as focus group interviews periodically throughout the internship. This qualitative approach to data collection will provide rich, in-depth conversations about becoming a STEM teacher.
As this is a new project, we hope to show these interns how hands-on STEM teaching is achievable and rewarding. We believe we will find those who were raised in rural communities are more likely to return to those communities to teach STEM fields. We want to discover whether the activities we choose to implement actually motivate STEM majored students to consider teaching in STEM fields. In the future, the project will award NOYCE Scholars with scholarships to transfer to our 4-year institution to become STEM teachers after graduating from their community college. We would like to find more ways to communicate and recruit highly-interested candidates to become NOYCE Scholars.
The future job market for our youth is rapidly changing to more and more STEM-oriented fields. Some of these jobs are not even created yet as their need has not been discovered. We want to prepare our youth with a highly-qualified teaching force that promotes inquiry and discovery rather rote procedures and lectures. STEM teacher education programs often are searching for more and more teacher candidates, if programs can partner with surrounding community colleges, they have the ability to increase the diversity of their cohorts as community colleges are often more diverse than traditional four year universities.