UTeach program connects students with career opportunities
UTeach, a program designed to overcome the nationwide shortage of over one million STEM teachers, has become a national leader in connecting Science, Math, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors to teaching careers.
UTeach was established at the University of Texas and was designed to recruit undergraduate STEM majors to become highly trained teachers.
Faculty with expertise in STEM fields, teaching, and learning began working alongside master-teacher practitioners to create a program emphasizing deep understanding of STEM content and classroom practice.
“Through the UTeach program, students are able to take advantage of two different paths to a career,” said Dr. Laura Bostick, associate director for UTeachTech, the local iteration of the Texas program.
UTeachTech is a collaborative initiative of the College of Education, College of Engineering and Science, and the College of Applied and Natural Sciences. STEM students can earn a minor in secondary education and obtain their teaching certification while working toward completion of their degree in a STEM-related field.
Through the program, they can “try out teaching” in local classrooms, earn honors credit, and develop skills and dispositions that will help them be successful in life both in and outside the classroom.
“STEM isn’t just about the subjects it encompasses – science, technology, engineering, and math,” Bostick said. “It’s about encouraging students to be curious and creative and resilient.”
UTeachTech has helped sophomore chemistry major Miriam Tovar learn problem-solving techniques that will apply in many areas of her life.
“UTeachTech has taught me the disciplines necessary for approaching any situation the best possible way,” Tovar said. “With an inquiry-based approach, there is always a question of what can be modified to make an outcome better and more effective. Bringing an education background into chemistry allows me better understand how and why things are presented to me. I hope to one day be able to teach others with the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired over the years in my practice.”
Sydney Folse, a senior chemistry major completing her teaching residency at Ruston High School, said having two options in her future career opens many doors.
“Being a UTeachTech student, I am able to further the possibilities of my career choices by gaining two careers with one degree,” Folse said. “The past year I have enjoyed my time being in the classroom each day gaining teaching experience all while continuing toward my chemistry degree. I enjoy being in the classroom because not only am I teaching the students, but they are teaching me, as well.”
UTeachTech provides students with more skills and more potential career paths than a STEM degree or an education degree alone would provide. UTeachTech graduates can go directly into a STEM profession, teaching, or graduate school.
Eighty percent of UTeach graduates stay in the classroom more than five years.
To learn more about UTeach and the UTeachTech program, watch WorkingNation’s Do Something Awesome mini-documentary series “A Talent for Teaching.” For more information, visit uteach.latech.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.