Hale, along with 214 other science teachers nationwide, is participating in a year-long professional development program designed to help promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence and improve teacher content knowledge.
“I was very excited to be chosen to participate in the New Science Teacher Academy. They receive applications from second- and third-year science teachers around the country and choose a select few to participate. The application is all online through the NSTA website and you don’t have to be a member to apply,” Hale said Wednesday via email.
The program consists of a series of web seminars on topics ranging from classroom management to developing better class lessons and classroom safety.
“Each Academy member is assigned a mentor teacher who teaches in their content area. Mine is a middle school science teacher who lives in Minnesota.
“The mentor works with a group of mentees (like myself) and provides meaningful feedback as well as encouragement. Each mentee participates in Inquiry Discussions where specific topics are addressed,” Hale said of the program.
“Our sponsors — in my case, Dow Chemical — provide an expense-paid trip to the NSTA National Convention, which takes place in Indianapolis this year,” she said.
The conference features workshops and programs geared toward the newest ideas in science teaching as well as refreshers on excellent methods to help students reach their highest potential.
“The program has been wonderful so far. Everyone involved has been extremely helpful. I encourage all new science teachers to apply,” Hale said.
The NSTA is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.
The 2011-12 fellows were selected on the basis of several criteria, including showing evidence of a solid science background and displaying a strong interest in growing as a professional science educator. Each fellow will receive a comprehensive NSTA membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline and the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based professional development activities including web seminars.
In addition, each fellow will receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s 2012 National Conference on Science Education in Indianapolis.