Physics is the top critical teacher-shortage area in Florida and throughout much of the country. The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) is a national program which aims to improve and promote the education of future physics teachers to address a critical shortage of well-prepared physics and physical science teachers in the U.S. The project is led by the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers and supported by the American Institute of Physics and National Science Foundation. Click here for a presentation about the critical need for physics teachers and how PhysTEC is striving to provide solutions.
The goal of PhysTEC funded sites, such as UCF, is to develop national models of physics teacher preparation programs. The UCF Physics Department and College of Education and Human Performance are excited to join this effort as a PhysTEC Comprehensive Site. Read more about PhysTEC at UCF in this article in UCF Today or in our project newsletters. Two key features of a PhysTEC site are the Learning Assistant program and a Teacher-in-residence.
Learning Assistants are undergraduates we hire to improve how students learn physics by working in a physics class and staffing the Physics Help Room. They transform the learning environment by allowing faculty to lead active, hands-on courses. Here’s a flyer about the program. Our LA program is based on the model developed at the University of Colorado, Boulder as a way to recruit undergraduate students to careers in K-12 teaching. Read more on the Teaching & Learning @ UCF page.
The Teacher-in-Residence position is staffed by a veteran high school physics teacher who serves as a recruiter and career counselor for students interested in becoming a teacher. The TIR is a liaison between UCF and the five surrounding school districts, getting feedback from teachers on how UCF can best support them – often filling the need for physics-specific professional development – and arranging placement for physics teaching students’ service learning in local classrooms. The TIR also works with UCF faculty interested in reforming their own courses. Our current Teacher-in-Residence, Adam LaMee, is an FSU graduate and 10-year Florida high school physics teacher with experience in assessment research, professional development, CERN’s Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, Florida’s science standards and teacher certification exams, and incorporating coding into science curriculum.
The UCF Physics Department and College of Education and Human Performance are excited to join this effort as a PhysTEC Comprehensive Site.
Talat Rahman, PI
Jackie Chini, co-PI
Jeff Bindell, co-PI
Malcolm Butler, co-PI
School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Josh Colwell, co-PI
Elena Flitsian, co-PI