Supported Site University of Minnesota: Induction & Mentoring

Successes

  • In our fourth year two PhysTEC graduates will begin CEHD in the summer of 2011. Two PhysTEC graduates will apply for licences.
  • Increasing the responsibilities and requirements for returning Learning Assisstants including using them in our 1302 course.
  • Maintaining the connection with the DirecTrack program and a path developed for PhysTEC graduates to take to ease access to the College of Education.

Challenges

  • Obtaining long-term funding for the PhysTEC program is essential to setting up an induction and mentoring program. This continues to be something we are trying to obtain.
  • Developing a good tracking system for our PhysTEC graduates to track three areas of involvement: DirecTrack, CEHD entrance, and movement to Physics TA positions.
  • The School of Physics and Astronomy has committed to hiring one (or more) of the past TIRs to teach the Physics for Elementary Education course for the indefinite future. This will insure that a 'TIR' continues to be a presence in the School to encourage, mentor and advise future potential teachers.

Sustainability/Institutional Buy-In

  • We are philosophically committed to continuing support of the teachers prepared in our program. However, our resources are currently stretched very thin, both in terms of funding and time. We are working with other departments to write grants to provide additional resources.
  • Maintaining a connection between the U of M, the teachers, and their school districts raises the level of understanding of the role of each.

Lessons Learned

  • The cost of mentoring early-career teachers will need to be partially borne by the districts in which these teachers work, not solely by the university program that prepared them.
  • Recruiting Learning Assistants from Juniors and Seniors in the physics program can be beneficial. Students often are looking for the best path for them to use their degrees.

Mentoring Activities

  • The PhysTEC TIRs serve as voices of practical experience for our pre-service teachers.
  • In future years, as PhysTEC teachers move into teaching positions, the Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) member teachers will also provide mentoring.