Tuesday, February 1, 2011

STEM teachers revisited

This blog will not only be about education, but I did want to follow up on some conversations I've had away from the blog. (By the way, dear readers, it's more fun if you post those comments here rather than send them to me via Facebook, email, carrier pigeon, or threating voicemail, jk ;0). I intend to slow the pace of full-length posts to once a week. Still, this postscript seemed in order.

A friend of mine who is a principal at a charter school in Chicago notes that he has found it exceedingly difficult to hire a science teacher but was inundated with applications for Language Arts and Social Studies positions.

I did not know but I do understand. Still, I am concerned. Will a focus on science and technology and engineering and math (STEM) teachers result in a two-tiered system with STEM teachers prized while others are (further) devalued? After all, English (for example) is not a subject just anyone can teach. A degree in the subject area is not necessarily proof that one really possesses specialized knowledge about the subject or pedagogy. Whether it is knowing the definition and function of gerunds and subordinate clauses or knowing how to scan the rhythm of a line of verse, there are specialized skills involved in teaching language and literature. Would there be any benefit in making teaching salaries more attractive across the board rather than only in the STEM areas, as it appears the President's plan might? Or have I misunderstood what he has in mind?

** And, just to show that I am not against STEM teachers, here is an innovative earth science teacher I hope you will support with a small donation.

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