Down to seeds and STEMs again: why you should become a science teacher
If you haven't heard, science teaching in America is changing: it seems today we're after "STEM" teachers more than ever. And what does STEM stand for? Actually, STEM is a hybrid of many subfields that are already taught in schools. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics have been thrust together in a way that makes social studies educators nod in appreciative understanding.
At Gettysburg College, we don't prepare teachers to be certified in "the STEM fields," per se; very few such programs actually exist. What we do try to do, however, is encourage deep knowledge of a chosen discipline (biology, chemistry, or physics), with an aim of using that knowledge to develop interdisciplinary understanding of the problems of everyday living. The whole notion of STEM education emerged from the sense that the fields it represents are too often taught (and learned) in isolation, but we also recognize that disciplinary understanding is what sows the seed of interdisciplinary work. Coursework offered in the Education Department leading toward certification in one of the science fields encourages just this kind of integrated thinking: we want our teacher candidates to see the implications of applying their knowledge of biology, chemistry, or physics to the practical problems posed by technological innovation and to the engineering challenges brought on by modern life—whatever form they take. Whether this involves encourages students to understand the promises and limitations of stem-cell research (yet another "stem" of a different kind...but stay with us), or the environmental consequences of fracking, or the possibilities of space exploration, we want our teachers to be positioned to encourage lively and thoughtful debate about the world around us.
If you think you may be interested in becoming a science teacher before you leave Gettysburg College, feel free to contact Kaoru Miyazawa or simply drop by the Education office on the ground floor of Weidensall.
View the checksheets for secondary certifications in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.
Secondary Biology checksheet (PDF)
Secondary Chemistry checksheet (PDF)
Secondary Physics checksheet (PDF)