Supported Site University of Colorado at Boulder: Teacher-In-Residence

Successes

  • Strong support of Tutorials, LAs (including training, social interactions, and outreach programs), and labs.
  • Mentorship of new teacher at TIR's school.
  • TAG (Teacher Advisory group) meetings, 1-2 per semester. Our TAG meetings have been an important component of the PhysTEC effort since it started. These meetings provide a mechanism to bring local high school physics teachers in to CU, to meet with faculty, visitors, and LAs, to discuss plans for opportunities to work together, and discuss common needs and interests.

Challenges

  • Maintaining contact with former Learning Assistants, especially with a new/different TIR each year.
  • Finding time and transportation for Learning Assistants to do community partnership activities (whether MESA field trips or afterschool programs).

Sustainability/Institutional Buy-In

  • CU will support the lead physics TA to take over running the tutorials from the TIRs.
  • Programs such as TAG and community partnership, which have traditionally been outside the purview of the physics department, have been valuable additions to the PhysTEC project, but the future of these remains uncertain.

Lessons Learned

  • A TIR has brought significant resources and made many contributions to the Colorado PhysTEC program. A sizable fraction of these were unexpected. For example, the TIR created a future PhysTEC teacher lounge (a monthly informal meeting of LAs and interested students to talk about teaching). The TIR expanded the outreach efforts coordinating MESA field trips to CU.
  • The TIR brought a wealth of expertise in recruiting, supporting, training, cajoling, and educating future teachers about the K12 world. The TIR was a natural bridge to the K12 world and perhaps an irreplaceable resource for such partnerships.

TIRs over the Project

  • 2006-2007: Roberta Tanner--She taught physics science for 15 years at Loveland High School, Loveland, Colorado
  • 2005-2006: Michael Fuchs-- He taught physics at Boulder High School for 15 years. Boulder, Colorado.
  • 2004-2005: Steve Iona-- He taught physics at Adams County High School teacher (retired).

Finding and Hiring a TIR

  • The searches were conducted in January of 2004, 2005, 2006 by PhysTEC lead faculty and the current TIR,
  • Letters were written to local school district supporting the release of the TIR by the school district. Letters were sent from the department (including the department chair), the dean of the School of education, and a supportive faculty member (who happens to be a Nobel Laureate).

TIR Activities

The Teacher-in-Residence served to bridge the university/pre-college divide as well as served to coordinate between the School of Education and Department of Physics. The TIR provided knowledge and resources that the physics department did not have.

  • Running TAG Meetings for the 2006-2007 academic year. The Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) consists of local area teachers who come to CU quarterly for information sessions and creation of a community of scholars dedicated to improving precollege physics education.
  • Recruiting, Selecting, Training Learning Assistants
  • Maintaining records, updating documentation of those students applying for and being selected as LA
  • Modeling reformed teaching for professors and TAs, setting up field experiences for LAs, and discussing teaching and the teaching field.
  • Organization and implementation of field experiences for Learning Assistants.
  • Developing course proposals for PER classes--Teaching and Learning Physics--and for a course for TAG teachers as they participate in TAG activities.
  • Revising of undergraduate labs for General Physics I.
  • Mentoring students, providing guidance, feedback on materials and connection with community partners in many early field experiences for learning assistants. Field experience included hosting field trips, tutoring and summer camps programs.
  • Unexpected outcomes: 1) A TIR brought connections to high school teachers in the area, increasing participation on the TAG. 2) The TIR served as a local mentor and resource for future physics teachers as they considered what the practical issues were both in getting certified and in teaching in Colorado schools. 3) The TIR provided essential teaching and training in our introductory physics sequences, both algebra and calculus based courses.