Florida International University Project Report 2009
Teacher In Residence
- In the second year of the project, we were able to hire the FIU Teacher in Residence (TIR) with both classroom (7 years) and university (4 years) experience. The TIR was therefore able to focus on project activities rather than learning the university environment.
- FIU PhysTEC has been able to identify a small pool of possible TIRs.
- The Teacher in Residence worked with the FIU Physics Education Research Group to expand the learning community and accomplish PhysTEC Goals. Examples include continual informal interaction with students and LAs to bring them into the community, serving as liaison between the group and the department in implementing reformed labs, and implementing the reform labs assessments.
- Working with local school districts in terms of their willingness to release the Teachers In Residence is challenging, as is working out the paperwork details.
- The project’s inability to implement the TIR hiring plan leaves us with a smaller choice of possible TIRs. Teachers interested in applying for the TIR position have been frustrated by inflexibility of district.
- FIU’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences are committed to supporting a Teacher in Residence at the close of the initial project. This commitment remains firm despite a budget crisis at the university.
- Associate Superintendents have made indications that Miami-Dade County Public Schools will also support ongoing Teacher in Residence assignments if we can arrange for experienced replacements for TIRs on leave.
- Having experienced teachers ready to “replace” Teachers In Residence makes principals more comfortable in releasing teachers. This alternative to the original plan may result in something like a traveling expert physics teacher.
- Teachers are reticent to leave known, comfortable environments, and so familiarity with FIU and Research Group members has been a key factor in recruiting new TIRs. All prospective TIRs have been past participants of CHEPREO’s Physics Modeling Workshops.
List of TIRs over the Project
- 2007-2008—Leanne Wells: Taught Electronics, Physics, & Mathematics for 10 years in Botswana and Miami, FL.
- 2008-2009—Jorge Gibert: Taught Physics I, Honors Physics and AP Physics for 7 years in Miami, FL.
Finding and Hiring a TIR
- In February, the FIU PhysTEC team contacted physics teachers to let them know that we were seeking a TIR for the next academic year. A job description was provided (see Appendix 5).
- The TIR Application (see Appendix 4) was posted and 2 applications were received.
- Meetings with district personnel, including an associate supertintendent, resulted in an agreement that the PhysTEC TIR leave would be supported provided that the prospective TIR is replace with an experienced physics teacher already in the MDCPS system. This may be an option in the future but it may present difficulties in getting an established teacher to travel.
Typical TIR activities
- Co-teach science pedagogy courses for LAs; 4 hours/week
- Teach one modeling section of Physics I ; 7-10 hours/week
- Mentor and train LAs; 10 hours/week (Much of this mentoring occurred during informal conversations with LAs before and after classes, and in responding to their e-mails and phone calls. However, lab training for LAs occurred every Monday for 1-1.5 hour)
- Meet with members of Physics Education Research Group individually or together; 1-10 hours/week (dependent on upcoming events & activities)
- Participate in Teacher Advisory Group (FizMo) meetings; 2-3 hours ~every three weeks.
- Prepare proposals & reports, maintain records, maintain TIR paperwork; 1-20 hours/week