Master Teachers have been exposed to and grappled with ideas that are central to their discipline at advanced levels. Like any scientist of mathematician, they view their knowledge as incomplete. Master Teachers also have a deep understanding of professional knowledge for teaching and strive to incorporate successful practices in their work. They continually evaluate, refine, and adapt their practice to better meet the needs of their students. Finally, Master Teachers possess a deep knowledge of their students’ communities, cultures, and values, and sees a student’s family and community as resources in their efforts to inspire them to study math and science. Master Teachers are classroom teachers who are already strong, but committed to developing even further their knowledge of content, craft of teaching, and understanding of students.
What Master Teachers Do
Master Teachers meet regularly during out-of-school time (evenings and weekends) over the course of the year to engage in activities leading to professional growth. Some teachers may explore a new subject by taking a mini-course offered by another Master Teacher, a scientist, or mathematician. Other teachers may explore their craft by meeting with a group comprised of educators from around the region who teach the same subject. The group might study artifacts from the classroom, consider common challenges, or write curriculum. Teachers may participate in leadership training to better guide departmental discussions, mentor early career teachers, or serve as cooperating teachers to pre-service teachers. They may also mentor both peers and/or pre- and early-career service teachers. The myriad ways in which teachers connect and grow as part of the program are as varied as the corps itself. Over each year that a Master Teacher is part of the program, they will be required to attend at least 50 hours of these kinds of opportunities.
Master Teacher Impact
The overarching goal of the Master Teacher Program is to support highly qualified STEM teachers and provide an expert community in which they can flourish, thus transforming STEM education across the state. Master Teachers are selected for their growth mindset; they are dedicated to improvement at both the personal and whole school level. Master Teachers typically play leadership roles in their schools, as department chairs, grade team leaders, STEM club advisors, or teacher mentors, all which lead to an increased level of engagement for their students. The work they do within the Master Teacher Program naturally strengthens the overall work of the science or mathematics departments of their schools and has a positive impact on the culture of teaching and learning at the school level.