PhysTEC’s mission is to increase the number of highly qualified physics teachers.
- models good teaching by delivering highly effective, engaging physics instruction
- works to increase the visibility of teaching as a career choice
- mentors graduate teaching assistants to improve their instructional practices
- provides advising to students who are considering teaching as a career
WVU’s PhysTEC program works in collaboration with WVUteach, which is modeled after the original UTeach program to provide interactive, inquiry-based science and mathematics education skills to future teachers.
West Virginia University has been a PhysTEC Supported Site since 2015. WVU’s PhysTEC staff includes members who have been working with PhysTEC since 2001.
The National Need for More Highly Qualified Physics Teachers
The United States has a severe, long-term shortage of qualified physics teachers.
In fact, in 2013, the National Task Force on Teacher Education reported that
the need for qualified physics teachers is greater now than at any previous time
in U.S. history. School districts consistently rank physics as the highest
need area among all academic disciplines with regard to teacher shortages. Only
47% of physics classes are taught by a teacher with a degree in the subject, compared
with 73% of biology classes and about 80% of humanities classes.
Of the approximately 3,100 teachers who are new to teaching physics each year, only about 1,100, or 35%, have a degree in physics or physics education. The numbers of high school students taking physics has been growing rapidly: over the past two decades, that number has more than doubled to 1.38 million students, with the number of Advanced Placement or second-year physics students increasing more than nine-fold to 229,000. Every child deserves a well-qualified science education and access to the high tech jobs that will define the next century.
This summary excerpted from phystec.org, the home of the National PhysTEC project, which West Virginia University thanks for their generous support. Visit their site to learn more.