What Can a Master Teacher/Teacher in Residence do for your program?
Recruit future teachers. No one knows the rewards and challenges of teaching better than a Master Teacher. TIRs can recognize potential future teachers and hit them with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable sales pitch.
- At Western Michigan, TIRs visited introductory and upper-level physics classes, usually twice a semester, to promote the physics teacher preparation program and physics teaching as a career.
- At Cal Poly, TIRs visited all upper-division physics classes, spoke at the annual barbecue at the science dormitory, and emailed all physics majors to generate a list of potential future teachers.
- TIRs at Arkansas gave presentations promoting teaching to undergraduates, and also recruited two future teachers from among the department’s graduate students.
Supervise field experiences and mentor student teachers. Far too often, future teachers get their pedagogy training and advising from faculty with little or outdated K-12 teaching experience, and no involvement in the local school system.
- At Colorado, TIRs have helped to recruit, select, and train Learning Assistants, and to coordinate field experiences for them.
- At Towson, TIRs helped coordinate field experiences for student teachers, and also helped design and implement assessments to measure the effects of course reforms on teachers’ attitudes and pedagogy.
- Cal Poly reports that “using the TIR as the supervisor of student teachers dramatically improved the quality of the supervision and our relations with local teachers and the local school districts.”
- Arkansas reports that “the strongest mentoring bonds were those built between preservice teachers and a TIR... New teachers in the classroom seem to have too little time to build new bonds, but find it much easier to turn to someone with whom they already have a trusting relationship.”
- TIRs at many schools helped coordinate Teacher Advisory Groups.
Teach methods and content courses. Who better than a Master Teacher to teach future teachers? Teaching enables the TIR to get to know the students, and vice versa. A TIR who teaches courses is also far more likely to attract permanent institutional funding (see also Sustainability).
- The Seattle Pacific TIR, a former elementary teacher, taught a physics course for non-majors, from which she recruited two future Learning Assistants. In addition, she co-taught four sections of the science methods course and one section of the physics content course for elementary teachers.
- A Western Michigan TIR team-teaches the physics teaching methods course with an education faculty member, and also assists with other courses required for future physics teachers.
- TIRs at Cal Poly teach reformed physics classes using day-by-day plans that make teaching less intimidating and lesson planning less time-consuming.
Redesign existing courses and help design new ones. Master teachers’ first-hand knowledge of the classroom and of inquiry-based teaching has proven invaluable in course development at several institutions
- Seattle Pacific’s TIR redesigned and taught a science course for non-majors, as well as a methods course and a content course for elementary teachers
- Western Michigan’s TIR modified and updated many of the lab activities for the department’s introductory physics courses.
Develop and teach professional development courses and workshops. Master teachers can help university physics departments reach out to teachers in local districts through professional development opportunities.
- A Western Michigan TIR developed and taught a six-week course for middle school teachers, to help them replace traditional lab activities with inquiry-based “student constructed investigations.” The same TIR developed and presented eleven workshops for area school districts and math and science centers, to help teachers implement new state high school science content guidelines, which include expectations that teachers use inquiry-based methods.
- Colorado’s TIR helped develop a course proposal for a course for TAG teachers, based on the existing course Teaching and Learning Physics.
- The Seattle Pacific TIR developed and taught two workshops for middle school teachers in the Yakima School District (a heavily minority district in eastern Washington). She also also taught a one-day workshop for Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) teachers in the Seattle School District on questioning in the context of astronomy. Subsequently, two MESA curriculum coordinators visited an SPU class to share the resources of the MESA program with future teachers.
- A Ball State TIR presented a workshop on inquiry-based teaching at a state science teachers’ convention.
Build bridges with local schools. Master teachers come in with connections to local school districts, and you can use them to increase your department’s connections.
- An Arkansas TIR worked with a district’s high school physics teachers on a successful Toyota Tapestry grant application for “an outdoor physics activity area that will benefit the community as well as the schools.”
- A Western Michigan TIR helped district administrators plan and implement professional development for district science teachers to address new Michigan state requirements. This effort increased the university’s contacts with the school district as well.
- The Seattle Pacific TIR’s ongoing participation in local schools events keeps her informed about current expectations and teaching strategies being endorsed by the district.