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.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…