In Search of STEM Teachers

STEM. STEM. STEM. STEAM. STEM. STEM. STEM. STEM. STEAM. STEM. STEM.

If one spends his or her time in education, it is impossible to avoid the topic of STEM. For a decade now, ever since “21st century skills” jumped the shark, we have been focused on a STEM-literate society. Sometimes, we look to add the arts to STEM, making it STEAM. (Though in one ingenious school district I visited in Wisconsin, they had STEAM, but the A was for agriculture, not the arts.) But we can’t get away from that STEM focus.

Last month, ACT released a survey of its test takers on a range of topics, one of which was STEM. ACT found that nearly half of those looking to take the ACT test demonstrated an interest in STEM subjects. That’s almost a million aspiring college students giving at least a look to the STEM areas.

But that interest in the content isn’t translating into an interest in teaching the content. Surveying those same students, of the nearly 1 million interested in STEM, only 5,500 are thinking about a future where they are teaching a STEM subject.

Over at Education World, I delve a little deeper into this disturbing revelation, looking at both why we need to do a better job or recruiting STEM teachers and how we can do it.

The teacher is the single-most impactful influence on the learning of the child. If we want today’s students to have an interest in STEM and to want to pursue careers in STEM teaching, we need to provide them with well-prepared teachers who make STEM real in their classrooms. We need excellent educators who inspire the next generation of STEM teachers. We need classroom teachers who can inspire an interest in the STEM subjects, encourage high-ability students to consider teaching careers, and show them how best to prepare the next generation of learners.

It’s an important read. Give it a look.

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