Learning Assistant Program

** Hiring for Fall 2018 **

UCF Physics is hiring PAID Learning Assistants for the Spring semester. You can apply here and here’s the flyer. Now accepting applications through Friday, May 4.

Interested in teaching? Check out PHY4012 Teaching Introductory Physics (3 credits, pre-req PHY3101 Physics 3 or instructor consent) offered every Spring.

Learning Assistant Program at UCF

Learning Assistants are undergraduates we hire to improve how students learn physics. Typically, that entails:

  • acting as a resource for students during a Physics class in which the LA earned an A or B (6 hours/week)
  • planning with the instructor for the class the LA works with (2 hours /week)
  • staffing the Physics Help Room (2 hours/week)
  • earning $10/hr for 10 hours/week.

If you’d like to be an LA, the requirements are:

  • earn an A or B in a Physics course
  • 3.0 GPA or higher
  • eligible to work up to 10 hours/week on campus
  • enroll in a one-credit LA Seminar class, PHY3945 (a two-hour weekly class usually taught in the evening)

For more information, email the Teacher-in-Residence at UCFTIR@gmail.com.

About the LA Program

The LA model was developed at the University of Colorado, Boulder (http://laprogram.colorado.edu/) as a way to recruit undergraduate students to careers in K-12 teaching. The LA experience involves three main themes: content, pedagogy and practice. The LA model has been adopted at a growing number of institutions (http://www.learningassistantalliance.org/).

Past Learning Assistants’ Experiences

Q: What is the role of a Learning Assistant?

“A Learning Assistant acts as a guide for students through their physics course. A learning Assistant is there to offer students not only support and a helping hand.”

FCTL Winter Conference Presenation on Learning Assistants at UCF

FIU LA Workshop Poster

During Spring Semester, several LAs teamed up to develop and implement a lesson for a high school physics class.

One LA’s opinion about the experience:

First off I would like to say that I really enjoyed going out to St. Cloud to teach the students. I was so impressed at how eager they were to learn, even the regular classes. It’s refreshing to see people excited to do science. It is so different from some of the things we experience at the college level; most students just want to get in and get out and they don’t seem at all interested. But these high school kids were a smart bunch and I’m really glad that they seemed to enjoy working with the equipment and hopefully they got something out of it because I know I did. I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted to teach before, but being in a classroom and engaging with those students made me remember why I had wanted to teach in the first place, so I found that to be the best part about the entire experience.

Q: What is the role of a Learning Assistant?

“A Learning Assistant acts as a guide for students through their physics course. A learning Assistant is there to offer students not only support and a helping hand, but also to challenge and inspire further academic pursuits in the STEM fields. An LA is someone who interacts directly with the students and helps the students become better science thinkers. “ (1st year LA, Engineering)

Q: What did you like most about your LA experience?

“…interacting with the students and watching them expand their minds and grow academically throughout the semester. Being an LA never felt like a typial “job” to me, because I was able to help others enjoy physics as much as I do, and I was also able to learn a lot from the students, grad students, and professors in return!” (1st year LA, Engineering)

Q: What was the most useful thing you learned from the LA seminar?

“I learned through the seminar that the development of a scientific thinking process is as important as the concepts themselves for college-aged physics students. The seminar helped me discover what it means for a student to truly understand and appreciate a physics course, and how I could help them achieve that level of understanding as an LA. “(1st year LA, Engineering)

Teach Phyiscs

Currently we are offering students the support and mentorship from UCF faculty to pursue Physics Teaching on the High School level. Our TIR’s experience in getting an education job from a non-education degree has been helpful in providing students a path to teacher certification.

We encourage all of our students who want to be teachers to pursue a Master’s degree in Science Education from the College of Education at UCF.

It is important that our students have a chance to practice teaching before they graduate, to get an idea of best approaches to classroom management, pedagogy, and problem solving in a classroom environment. For this, we ask in-service Physics teachers to help us in our effort to prepare future teachers.

Finally, in the works is a B.A. program in Physics that will allow students to achieve high quality training in Physics subject matter and high school teaching at the same time during their undergraduate degree at UCF.

LA Created Lessons