Blog originally posted on the GLOBE Scientists' Blog: http://blog.globe.gov/sciblog/2012/09/06/salute-to-teachers/
This week, we are taking a slightly different approach to our blog. At the highest level, our blog usually centers on science and education themes. This week, however, we are taking a step back to focus on the people who are on the front lines of teaching science and education … our teachers.
If you have ever been inspired by a great teacher––an educator who had such a profound impact on you life by taking an interest in you, sparking your curiosity in a particular subject or even by encouraging you to do your best, you will undoubtedly think of that teacher (or teachers) and recall the moments or events that ignited your passion the most. Moreover, there is a strong chance that it was a teacher who inspired you to become a scientist … and for many of you, you are now not only scientists, but teachers as well.
The role of the teacher is mission critical and perhaps more important today than at any time before. This is especially true as it relates to fostering the next generation of scientists. Last fall, Microsoft Corp. released a study that suggests teachers are the key to getting students interested in STEM. More than half of the STEM college students surveyed (57 percent) said that before going to college it was a teacher or class that got them interested in STEM. It found that 78 percent of STEM college students decided to study STEM in high school or earlier; 21 percent decided in middle school or earlier.
STEM education is a pressing topic with big implications in the U.S.: currently the number of college students earning degrees in STEM fields is far short of demand for graduates with these skills. So how do we get students interested in STEM? It starts with teachers. It starts with you. Of course there are social and policy implications to all of this, but that is for another post on another blog at a different time.
We believe it is important to acknowledge the people who inspire us, nurture our curiosities and captivate our minds … for all of you who work tirelessly to close the gap and engage students in the study and discovery of Earth system science, the GLOBE Program would like to thank you. We value your efforts and we recognize the impact you have on the lives of the students you teach every day.
With the back to school season in full swing (especially in the Northern Hemisphere), we would like to commence the school year by showing our appreciation with a Salute to Teachers video. We encourage you to watch it and share the link with your friends, family, school administrators and, of course, all of the educators you know and appreciate so much.
Together we can inspire students to do more than read about science, but do science.
-Posted for Ron Zwerin