Biographies: Middle Tennessee State University

Mark LaPorte, 2010-2012

LaPorte My name is Mark LaPorte and I have been a science educator for the past 18 years. I possess a very broad background in science mainly due to the variety of courses that I have taught, and the courses I have taken over the years. I am certified to teach all sciences in grades 7-12. During my tenure as a science teacher, I have taught in several different settings including, both inner city and rural public secondary schools, independent secondary schools, community college, and a university. Every new venue brought with it challenges and vast rewards. The experience that I have gained from interacting with an immensely diverse group of faculty, students, and administrators has been invaluable. It has been an interesting journey to date and I am sure there is much more to come.

My interest in becoming a teacher began when I started coaching youth sports. I enjoyed working with kids and wondered how I might make a career of it. Teaching was the logical choice for me, but what should I teach? Science, of course, it is by far the most fun and interesting subject taught in school. Thank you Mr. Ramsden, my 11th grade physics teacher and soccer coach at Nepean High School in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. You were very influential in my career choice, showing this jock that inquiry science is fun and challenging. Did I forget to mention that I am Canadian?

I began my quest of becoming a science teacher at Palm Beach Community College, in West Palm Beach, FL. I may be Canadian but I know where the warm winters are to be found. I eventually earned a degree in science education from Florida State University and landed my first job soon after, teaching biology and chemistry, and coaching football in Louisville, KY. I enjoyed Louisville so much I moved to Iowa. I earned my masters degree in science education from the University of Northern Iowa while teaching chemistry and physics, and coaching hockey and football, in a rural high school. I was very fortunate to have been mentored by Dr. Roy Unruh, a physics educator, and author of the PRISMS project at UNI. Largely due to my efforts to implement an inquiry-based approach to science teaching, I was honored to receive the Iowa Academy of Science Physics Teacher of the Year award.

I am currently serving as the TIR in the PhysTEC program and as a master teacher in the MTeach program at Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to my skills as a classroom teacher and coach, I bring my experience working with teachers in professional development and working with informal educational opportunities like Science Olympiad. I consider myself to be very fortunate to work with an exceptionally talented and dedicated faculty at MTSU. I am looking forward to assisting the next generation of physics teachers begin their journey as science educators.