January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

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.

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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.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.