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A program to train teachers as scientists and engineers
There are different initiatives out there to help attract scientists and engineers into a second career as teachers, thereby bringing their real world experience and their knowledge of the disciplines into the classrooms. I would like to propose a program that works in the other direction.
Allowing that the model of combining practical engagement with high-level teaching skill is a great framework, let's build our hybrid teacher by starting with people who are already passionate about teaching and great at working with kids.
Sure, math and science teachers take coursework in the field, but that's clearly not the same. We need opportunities to keep studying and to participate in actual on-going research projects so we are keeping our knowledge sharp and keeping our engagement with the discipline active.
I would argue further that by sustaining the teachers' status as students, their ability to sympathize and empathize with their own students would stay at a higher level.
What we need, then, are ways to achieve that. Certainly the school teachers I know can't afford to take science or engineering coursework every semester.