In the US secondary schools, there is a shortage of effective physics teachers because:

  • Of physics graduates who choose to become educators, attrition is very high.
  • The positions that need filling are frequently out of necessity filled with teachers not trained in physics.
  • New teachers suffer from a shortage of physics specific support.

    • Status quo training efforts are too far removed from practical classroom technique or are based on vendor promotions.
    • Teachers are frequently the only one in their school teaching physics so lack easy access to peer or mentor support.

The Physics Teacher Jumpstart programs improve science teaching by:

  • Actively seeking out new physics teachers in their critical first years when attrition risk is at its peak.
  • Increasing the success of new teachers through

    • Practical training in teaching strategies.
    • Supplying practical teaching apparatus.
    • Building peer support in physics teaching.
    • Guidance by enthusiastic veteran mentors.
  • Increasing intellectual, material and social support of new teachers, by which job satisfaction is increased and stress levels reduced, two primary causes of attrition.

What does Physics Teacher Jumpstart contribute that is not provided elsewhere?

  • Other physics teacher professional development workshops focus on advanced physics topics beyond what is practical and needed by new teachers if not beyond the scope of secondary education curriculum altogether. Even if teachers are trained in advanced topics and have time and materials sufficient to introduce them, this is of little value until after the teacher has skills to teach the fundamentals. Jumpstart programs fill in the fundamentals that new teachers need immediately.
  • Teachers are typically trained on laboratory demonstration materials belonging either to their college training program, or if during their career, belonging to equipment vendors hoping to sell equipment. In both cases, the teachers are being trained on equipment they typically do not possess in their classrooms and frequently can not afford to purchase. Or if grants are available to purchase such equipment, that grant request process diverts a substantial amount of teacher time and effort away from students, may not even result in obtaining a grant, and even if it does, still leaves a significant lag time before the materials reach the classroom.

    • Jumpstart programs model lessons on apparatus then given immediately to the teachers at no charge. They can begin using the materials, just as learned during the lesson, on their next day in the classroom.
    • The dates selected for the workshops aim to fall shortly before the participants will need the provided content and materials for use in their classroom.

For further information, please contact Andrew Brown

About Dr. Karl Brown