red Supported Site Western Michigan University: Teacher-In-Residence

Successes

  • The TIRs involvement in teaching both physics classes and methods classes helps build bridges between the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education, and reinforces the concept that content and pedagogy are equally critical in the classroom.
  • TIRs did not have teaching responsibilities. They focused their efforts on working directly with students and on making site visits to area schools when needed.
  • Pre-service teachers frequently remarked that they found the presence of a TIR in classes in on-campus during the day very helpful, and that the TIR was someone they could always turn to for assistance and advice.
  • Our most recent TIR remained on board for two years, which greatly increased continuity from year to year and reduced startup time.

Challenges

  • It’s very easy to assign TIR’s too much to do.
  • The faculty and TIR needed to meet frequently to discuss project goals and priorities so as to maximize the impact the TIR was having on the program

Sustainability/ Institutional Buy-In

  • WMU did not provide future support for the TIR as a faculty or staff position. The benefits of the TIR are recognized, but due to current budget limitations, there will be no TIR in 2007-2008. Grants and endowments to fund this position are being sought.
  • Our former TIRs have continued doing many TIR-tasks in an effort to keep the program alive.

Lessons Learned

  • Each TIR is different and brings different strengths and experiences to the project. Assign tasks that best suit that individual, rather than tasks that could be easily done by a staff or faculty member for greatest project success.
  • Once a TIR, always a TIR.
  • Getting the TIR involved in as many on-campus classes as possible without having them get bogged down in specific class issues like tutoring, planning daily lectures or demos is a difficult balance.

Here is the list of WMU TIRs.

  • 2005-2007—Drew Isola: He taught high school physics and math at Allegan High School, Allegan, MI. Drew has 25 years teaching experience at the high school and middle school levels from general math and science courses to AP Physics and AP Calculus.
  • 2004-2005—William Semrau: He developed and implemented an applied science program in a number of vocational training classes at the Van Buren Intermediate School District’s Technology Center in Lawrence, MI.
  • 2003-2004—Gene Wood: He taught for 39 years at Parchment High School in Michigan. Also, he was chosen a Kellogg Fellow and participated in the Kellogg Teaching/Research Associates Program at Kalamazoo College.
  • 2002-2003—Dale Freeland: Since 1993, he has taught at Portage High School in Michigan. Also, he is an AAPT Physics Teacher Resource Agent (PTRA)

Typical TIR Activities

  • Teaching, team-teaching, & observing classes; physics lectures, secondary science teaching methods classes & lab classes: 17.8% time
  • Writing and developing labs, TA training materials and other course materials for departmental use: 11.2% time
  • Establishing and maintaining contact with students and area teachers (i.e. tutoring, email, office visits, etc), sending out PhysTEC Updates about upcoming activities and current events in science education, updating email contact lists, and tracking down graduates: 14.8% time
  • Planning and implementing on-campus "Community Building" activities/workshops for pre & in-service teachers: 7.0% time
  • Professional Activities such as attending, presenting, researching & writing for professional organizations, meetings and workshops: 18.4% time
  • Outreach activities to area schools, planning & implementing professional development/teacher in-service activities for schools, mentoring novice teachers, and e-mentoring, site visits to classrooms: 13.3% time
  • Attending WMU & PhysTEC Project meetings, data collection activities and report writing (annual reports, MOUs, mentoring reports, requests for specific info, etc), required TIR duties (i.e. journal prompts), overcoming university logistics, other activities for national PhysTEC Project: 17.5% time