May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

I Got the Job – What Do I Do? Part 4

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Rick Pomeroy

You have just accepted your first job and now the real work and worry begins. What will I teach, how will I set the perfect climate on the first day, how will I keep all of those students’ names straight, and stay up to date on all of that grading? These are very common questions for new teachers. Depending on the date when you accept the job, you will have anywhere from three to four months to prepare for the most important day of your new career. You may not know the exact teaching assignment, you might not even know which school, but that is not a reason sit and wait. Your students are going to show up for your classes on the first day and you need to be ready. So, what would I recommend?

First, now that you know the school district where you will be teaching, I recommend that you start by making it a point to learn as much about the community as possible. Learn which industries and businesses are important to the economy; get a feel for the different parts of town and the resources that are available to your students during the summer. THEN, figure out how you can use that information in your teaching. Think about ways for making the S&E Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and the Cross Cutting Concepts relevant for students. By incorporating the things students and their parents do every day, you can personalize many parts of your curriculum. Even if you are working with a departmental curriculum, you can use your knowledge of the community as an example or application of the content that you are teaching.

Second, if you have not already purchased a copy of the NGSS and the Conceptual Framework, get one. These will be the foundational tools for curriculum development for the coming years. It is unlikely that the new California State Framework will be available before the end of the summer so it will be important to have these foundational documents to guide you. Remember, the Conceptual Framework lays out what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school. The NGSS describes how they will demonstrate that understanding. Neither is a curriculum in itself but both should be considered as you begin to plan what you are going to teach. Even if you do not have a specific assignment, become deeply familiar with these documents now so that when the curriculum planning begins, you are ready.



Third, when you eventually know your teaching assignment, reach out to the other members of the science faculty to get a feel for the resources available to you, the dynamics of the department, and any logistical issues such as bell schedules, school traditions and possible opportunities for cross-curricular instructional opportunities. It is also good to make connections to other new teachers at your school. Even if they are in a different subject area, you will share many of the same experiences, emotions, successes and challenges over your first year. It is always great to have a support system that sees the experience in the same way that you do.

Finally, take some time off to have some fun. You have worked hard from the start of your undergraduate career through what has likely been a stressful and busy year as a pre-service teacher. Over the next three to four months, take some time to enjoy the things that made you want to be a teacher. Enjoy the kinds of things that recharge your mind and your emotions. It is OK to get away or travel a little, but be sure that you don’t do it at the expense of participating in training opportunities or to the extent that you ignore steps 1, 2, and 3. You have worked hard to become a teacher and you want to enter the classroom on the first day charged up and ready to take on the world. Remember to celebrate your first day of teaching. Take pictures of your students in each class on the first day. There will never be another first day of teaching so cherish and enjoy it.

This is the last in a series of articles designed to support this year’s pre-service teachers in their quest for that first job. In Part 1 I discussed researching the district and the schools where you want to teach. Part 2 was designed as a guide to the interview process and Part 3 offered some suggestions on how to deal with the job offer. Part 4 is designed to offer some thoughts and suggestions for preparing for the job that you have accepted.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.