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Alma Robinson, Virginia Tech
“Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Having expert physics teachers support preservice and new physics teachers through mentoring is one of the 10 key components that PhysTEC has outlined in successful physics teacher preparation programs. For this edition of the Teacher Preparation Section, two institutions with robust induction and mentoring programs will share how their programs have supported students in both their physics teacher preparation, as well as during their first few years of teaching, the delicate time when teachers are most likely to leave the profession.
Jennifer Docktor discusses her various roles as the mentor for pre-service and new physics teachers at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (UWL). Through her support as an academic advisor, outreach experience coordinator, pedagogy instructor, field supervisor, and workshop leader, UWL physics teacher candidates are able to seek guidance as they navigate the teacher education program and the induction phase of their teaching.
Elizabeth Rosendale, an alumni of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse’s Physics Education program echoes the importance of mentoring in her teacher education preparation and first years of teaching. Elizabeth currently teaches Physics and AP Physics at Holmen High School in Holmen, Wisconsin.
Brigham Young University (BYU) graduates more physics teachers than any other institution in the United States, and Duane Merrell plays a key role in BYU’s success. Duane describes how BYU’s mentoring program begins from the moment that a student expresses interest in teaching science, and continues indefinitely, as a two-way relationship where both the mentor and the mentee learn from each other.
Finally, PhysTEC will hold its annual conference on physics teacher education in Baltimore from March 11- March 13, preceding the APS March meeting. This conference will offer wonderful opportunities to attend workshops, presentations, and panel discussions on physics teacher education, as well as network with the leaders in field.