15 Jun

By Christina Craft

More and more physics teachers are finding the support they need to pursue their passion for teaching. The 5+ club award recognizes programs that provide such support, and we recognize a teacher with the courage to follow his heart.

Kennesaw State University’s Robert Noyce I-IMPACT grant has been recognized as an outstanding teacher preparation program with the 5+ club award. David Rosengrant leads the physics aspect of the program.

The 5+ club award is given to programs that build experienced teachers, specifically physics teachers, and that build the desire in teachers to stay in their profession. The 5+ club derives its name from the fact that programs which are able to graduate five or more physics teachers are a rarity.

According to PhysTEC, physics is the highest ranking academic area with teacher shortages. Only 47 percent of physics classes are being taught by qualified physics teachers.

“Seventeen universities in the past three years combined have graduated five or more people certified to teach physics,” Rosengrant said. “It’s an abysmal number.”

In MetLife’s annual Survey of the American Teacher, it has been found that teachers stay in their profession for only three-to-five years. Rosengrant and the Noyce I-IMPACT program partly contribute this statistic to a lack of support in the schools.

“What the Noyce program does that is above and beyond is… it helps getting them to stay in the program because it provides a support network,” Rosengrant said.

Rosengrant said that some universities only have one science teacher program. Teachers in the sciences are typically lumped together and expected to have the ability and knowledge to teach any science subject, regardless of their expertise. The Noyce I-IMPACT program focuses on how to teach physics, and provides a network of more than 20 discipline-specific teachers, thus supporting teaching as a career path. According to Rosengrant, those with a physics degree may seek professions other than teaching, even if teaching is their true passion.

Link to article featured in The Catalyst Vol 4.

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