We've spoken previously on this blog about the importance of incorporating a student's interests into their lessons and schoolwork. We are back to say the same of teachers! Everyone wants a career where they are happy, and this does not exclude our beloved educators. Not to mention that a teacher who is happy in their career field is more effectively able to convey their love of their subject matter to their students. Happy teacher, happy students! After all, teaching is found to be a mission of self expression for many, and teachers are happiest when they are able to do this to their liking.
On the subject of self expression, it makes sense that incorporating a teacher's personal and educational interests into their lessons and assignments makes them happier in their work. We are aware, however, that not all teachers get the chance to do this due to strict school policies, state testing requirements, and a lack of financial or other resources. We talk a lot about increasing accessibility to students, but we need to remember that this applies to teachers as well. While improvements to accessibility are needed, there are programs that help teachers explore their passions and combine it with their love of teaching. One of these programs is the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program, where each year 12-20 STEM teachers nationwide have the opportunity to work with federal agencies for an 11 month term. During this time, STEM teachers have the resources to hone in on their passions and develop them for use in the classroom. Unique experiences like this are great opportunities for teachers that want to further develop their passion for their subject matter and for teaching. For those interested in becoming an Einstein Fellow, the link to apply for 2022-2023 is now open. You can apply here.
On Episode 37 of BlueSky Learning's Let's Go To Space Podcast, we met with Dr. Ben Van Dusen, a professor of science education at Iowa State University where he runs the Learning about STEM Student Outcomes (LASSO) platform. LASSO is funded through the NSF and is a free online resource supporting teachers in how to use research-based assessments to determine the impact of their courses on student content knowledge, attitudes, and identities. It can be accessed here. An Einstein Fellow, along with BLUE-SKY Learning's own Kevin Simmons, we got to hear how his experience within the fellowship changed the course of his career in education.
Through his fellowship experience, Dr. Van Dusen got to discover "the intersection of Physics and Education," where he was able to find a way to connect his passion for the subject with the lessons in his classroom. He also was able to ignite his passion for educational research, and through this passion created LASSO. To hear more about Dr. Van Dusen's experience with the fellowship, along with education policy discussion and issues of inequity in the classroom, tune in to Episode 37 of BLUE-SKY Learning's "Let's Go To Space" podcast. You can listen in anywhere you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.