“Tech to Teaching” promotes careers in education

Through a new program known as Tech to Teaching, students at Tech are given the opportunity to prepare for careers in teaching at the collegiate or K-12 level.

Tech does not have any degree programs that award teacher certification, but this new program enables students to develop their teaching skills through variety of resources, like teaching internships and volunteer opportunities.

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by interim Institute President Gary Schuster, the Tech to Teaching program aims to support Tech students who are considering teaching as a possible career option, while concurrently assisting Georgia in alleviating its shortage of K-12 math and science teachers.

It is this shortage specifically in math and science teachers that makes Tech students top candidates for future teaching positions.

“It is Georgia Tech’s responsibility to help solve the shortage of math and science teachers in Georgia,” said Donna Llewellyn, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

“We not only need to supply [Georgia with] top-quality teachers to support an educated workforce in our state, but we also need to provide our K-12 schools with teachers equipped to fully prepare students to pursue a higher education here at Georgia Tech,” Llewellyn said.

In addition to the $1 million funding from the NSF, Tech committed to a $1.67 million investment towards the program. Tech is only one of six institutions that received the NSF funding to promote education in the area of science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

Teaching certification can only be attained after enrolling in teaching certification programs when students graduate from Tech. However, the Tech to Teaching program allows students to work towards the certification while they progress in their major studies.

Although some certification programs require students to be enrolled as full-time, other programs offer students the opportunity to begin earning a salary by working as part-time teachers, while at the same time pursuing the certification.

Through this program, Tech will work in partnership with other schools, such as Spelman College and Georgia Perimeter College, where Tech students will be given the opportunity to teach some of the introductory level courses in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

The program is also affiliated with Georgia State University, which offers professional training and licensing to the participating students through cross-registration options. “We also hope to initiate and develop partnerships with other universities as the program evolves,” Llewellyn said.

“An increasingly popular educational path for students interested in K-12 teaching is to get their four-year bachelor’s degree in a particular content field and then pursue a one-year Master of Arts in Teaching degree to earn their teacher certification,” said Marion Usselman, senior research scientist at the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing.

The Tech to Teaching program is scheduled to commence its initial operations this upcoming spring. The program supplements the current offerings for students interested in teaching.

Tech has had a two-semester Principles of Teaching and Learning class for some time, but this is mostly to teach students how to pass the Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators exam, which qualifies them to teach. The goal of this new program is to take the current campus tools and enhance them so that Tech students can help in being leaders for the future in science disciplines.