DIGGING in to The ROOT Issues of Challenges for STEM Teachers
By: Hayley Johnson
I know, I know. That blog title may have one too many puns, but you get the message. Let me divulge to you some of my personal struggles in my current journey to becoming a science teacher, and share some advice from teachers who may be going through similar things.
How can we turn this flower’s frown upside down?
–As a science teacher, I would initially say water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide; but let’s stick to the metaphorical pain that this plant is dealing with.
Here’s a peak at what we DON’T want to happen when faced with challenges:
U kno what's stressful? When ur science teacher tells u follow the directions exactly or ull get a 0 and then doesn't give u the directions.
— ADDI ADDIGATOR (@TheAddigator) November 23, 2014
another HS classic:
11th grade science teacher screams, makes fun and hollers at us and forcefully marks our (Cornell) notes for wrong answers and spacing, and those 'marks' nearly slashed our notebook pages…and I mean like RIPPED through
— 「P S Y」💤 (@Psy_Doktor) February 16, 2018
Some current challenges…
-Our courses are very science-based so that we can ensure we are getting more exposure with the content knowledge, but am I missing out on more of the educational courses that would increase my teaching skills?
-What if my students don’t like me?
-How can I ensure my students are getting the most out of a lab/activity and actually learning, not just copying or following directions blindly?
-What if one of my students gets injured during one of my lab experiments?
-How can I make science culturally relevant to help my students feel included?
-How can I engage my students who do not have science at the top of their list of favorite subjects?
-Get to know your students on a meaningful level: Identify students interests, values, home life, traditions, communication style, etc.
-Science is EVERYWHERE. An essential element to turning students on to science is to show them how it’s used in their daily lives. Let your classroom explore and understand how this subject matter touches more in their day-to-day activities than they think.
–Safety in the science laboratory requires common sense, preparation, and knowledge by teachers and students.
-We should not focus on if our students like us. What matters is that we have a god classroom environment that allows students to be safe and maximize learning and understanding.
^Don’t let the small things take over and make you feel overwhelmed- equip yourself with the right information and strategies to overcome challenges, and be as happy as this plant 🙂