Teacher In Residence at PhysTEC Sites
Ball State University
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Florida International University
Seattle Pacific University
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Minnesota
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Western Michigan University
The linchpin of most successful teacher preparation programs around the country is the Master Teachers (MT), or Teacher in Residence (TIR) – an agent of change who applies classroom wisdom to the tasks of identifying, training, and supporting teachers of physics. Western Michigan University Professor Emeritus Bob Poel and former Teacher in Residence Drew Isola write that
By far, the single biggest factor that improves recruitment and retention efforts is the presence of an individual in the physics department who has specific responsibilities related to the training of future physics teachers… The importance of the role of a TIR, or TIR-like person, cannot be overstated.
The importance of Master Teachers has been recognized nationally – for example, the 2000 report Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology calls for the presence of “master/mentor teachers in partner school districts [who] would have adjunct appointments with the schools of education or the departments of science, mathematics, or engineering [and who] would take on a significant role in the mentoring of future teachers during their practicum experiences.” The 41 PhysTEC TIRs have taken on this role and many more, including:
There is no question that a university or external funding agency must make a significant financial commitment to support a Teacher in Residence. Nevertheless, several PhysTEC sites have made the commitment to fund TIRs out of their own budgets, in order to sustain the benefits that only a Master Teacher can bring to a department that wishes to prepare high-quality teachers. In addition, several universities have attracted external corporate funding for a Teacher in Residence program. The 2008 PTEC Conference will focus on Master Teachers, and will provide an opportunity for TIRs from schools around the country, including all PhysTEC sites, to disseminate their successes and help catalyze the spread of Master Teachers to institutions outside of the PhysTEC project.