Supported Site Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo: Teacher-In-Residence

Successes

  • In 2005-2006, we had two TIRs, one supported by PhysTEC and the college and one supported entirely by the college. In 2006-2007 the college supported two TIRs.
  • Using the TIR as the supervisor of student teachers dramatically improved the quality of the supervision and our relations with local teachers and the local school districts.
  • Using the TIRs as instructors in our reformed courses allowed them to explore new ideas about teaching while at the same time building camaraderie with our PhysTEC teachers.

Challenges

  • Finding a role for the TIR that was seen as useful to the administration (numbers of students taught) and that still left time for the TIR to do the low-number supervision activities.
  • Articulating the value that the TIR plays to the department, to the education of future teachers, and to the local school system.

Sustainability/Institutional Buy-In

  • The Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics has said that he is willing to support two or three TIRs each year (potentially one for each discipline).

Lessons Learned

  • It is easier for the administration to support the high salary and benefits of the TIR when the TIR is teaching some courses with high numbers of students. (The university has to pay to cover these courses anyway.)
  • For the TIRs, the opportunity to teach makes them feel more comfortable on the University campus.
  • An additional benefit is the quality of the TIR' s supervision and mentoring for student teachers and the increased connection with local school districts and teachers.
  • Because of the steep learning curve, the TIR is more effective in the 2nd and 3rd year.

List of Cal Poly TIRs

  • 2004-2007--Nancy Stauch: She taught middle school physical science for 14 years at Laguna Middle School, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • 2005-2007--David Buck-Moyer: He taught chemistry and physical science for 4 years at San Luis Obispo High School, San Luis Obispo, CA and middle school physical science for 17 years at Los Osos Middle School. Los Osos, CA.
  • 2003-2004--Michael Landino: He taught chemistry at Morro Bay High School for over 15 years. Morro Bay, CA.

How the TIR was found and hired

  • An announcement to all the local teachers was made through the Superintendent’s office. Interested candidates applied with a resume, cover letter, and 2 letters of recommendation.
  • The candidate was chosen. We had little trouble getting the school system to release our choice because we have paid the total cost of the teacher (salary and benefits)
  • In the last two years of the project we have kept the same TIRs and have not hired new ones. Thus, we have not had to recruit.

Typical TIR activities

Teaching and preparing for physics or physical science courses (18 hours/week)

  • Teaching/preparing for Teaching Methods Course or Introduction to Teaching Course (9 hours/week)
  • Work with pre-service teachers (10 hours/week)
  • Office Hours (4 hours/week)
  • Education Course Revision (0.3 hours/week)
  • Meet with Physics faculty (0.2 hours/week)
  • Meet with Education faculty (1.5 hours/week)
  • Meet about PhysTEC activities (0.8 hours/week)
  • PhysTEC paperwork and emails (1 hours/week)
  • Plan/conduct PhysTEC activities and presentations (1.4 hours/week)
  • General Paperwork (4 hours/week)

Additional information

  • There are two reasons the dean is supportive of the TIR position. First, the TIR will relieve faculty from student teacher supervision (which they currently do), allowing them to spend more time on professional development. Secondly, the TIRs teach courses and therefore partially pay for themselves. The dean would certainly not support the positions if the TIRs did not teach.
  • It is important that the teaching done by the TIRs was highly structured to meet the PhysTEC project goals. They taught reformed courses that were activity-based; there were two or three other faculty teaching the same course in the same manner; and the courses were highly structured– each day’s activities were planned in advance. This made the experience less intimidating and less demanding for the TIR, which freed their time for supervision activities.