This summer marks the beginning of the NC New Schools Project STEM Teacher Education Program – and I’m proud to be one of the first interns to participate. Over the course of the next year, the program includes classroom observations, mentoring by teachers in the school, online education classes through Harvard’s WIDE World program, a semester as the teacher of record for a class, sessions with the NCNSP staff and perks such as a stipend and personal use of a laptop. Beyond this year, as we new STEM teachers enter into the role of having classrooms of our own, we will receive continued guidance regarding the Praxis and obtaining our official license.
Although NCNSP STEP sounds good on paper, it is hard to convey the GREATNESS I’ve felt about this program since the beginning.
Earlier this summer, more than a dozen new interns for the program met for a two-day long orientation session. Seeing familiar faces that day reminded me of the incredible positivity from the applicants at the interviews and school visits the month before.
At our initial school meetings and interviews, the high school students were walking proof of the high quality and well-rounded education they received as they gave us interns a tour of their school. What got me hooked on the need to be trained in one of these NCNSP partner campuses were the well-spoken, enthusiastic and proud young people I met that day.
I haven’t always known that teaching was for me. Yes, I did line up my dolls and explain to them “4+3=7,” but I didn’t know where my career path would take me. My enthusiasm to become an educator grew from the love of learning gained through studying biology in college. Discovering this area of interest not only inspires me to teach the content to students, but to share the greater importance — finding that love of learning in each student’s academic and (someday professional) life.
I am honored and excited to be a part of the NCNSP STEM Teacher Education Program. I know teaching will be challenging — and with the guidance of NCNSP staff, our intern schools staff and the students themselves, we can learn the tools to cultivate successful STEM students.
Just a couple more weeks and we’re off to the classroom!
Mary Allison Samuels, from Asheville, NC, is a recent graduate from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Plant Biology. She hopes to teach high school biology after completing her NCNSP STEP internship at Wayne School of Engineering in Goldsboro.