Opinion: Five reasons why I am excited to study teaching in 2016

Opinion: Five reasons why I am excited to study teaching in 2016

As STEM education becomes a major focus in the Federal Government’s innovation agenda, how do our new and aspiring educators teaching in this area feel about the year ahead?

In March, Pahia Cooper will start her graduate diploma in secondary education (Biology).

Here are 5 reasons she wants to become a science teacher.
  1. Inspiring the future
The students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. I have a passion for learning as well as sharing my science knowledge with others, especially young adults with whom I find working incredibly rewarding.  To influence and inspire the minds that may one day build the next iPhone or design a rocket to land on Mars would be amazing.

Teaching is one of the most important functions performed in our culture. I believe that teachers individually and collectively have the ability to not only change the world, but to improve it. During my studies I hope to meet like-minded people who are interested in science and positively impacting upon students’ lives.
  1. New technology
The current generation in and about to enter high-school (Generation Z) are the most educated and connected generation in Australian history. They are internet-savvy, technologically literate and often move quickly from one task to another, placing value on speed over accuracy.

To keep one step ahead of this generation and to be able to teach them new skills is an exciting challenge. This opens a world of opportunities to teach traditional subjects online using creativity, problem solving and design thinking skills. For example, meeting online in Minecraft to learn and explore the environment mathematically, using a 3D printer to print mazes to grow specimens for biology or coding using free online Apps to solve complex mathematical equations like the spread of disease.
  1. More opportunities
The Australian recently reported the population of school students is expected to increase by 26% by 2022 creating an urgent need for skilled teachers. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) teachers are in high demand with many government scholarships encouraging teachers to train in STEM subjects and STEM professionals to expand their options by studying an Education degree.

A Graduate Diploma qualifies you for teacher registration throughout Australia and you can also travel and teach in other countries such as the UK. In addition, the skills learnt are transferrable, with teachers gaining employment in museums, universities, the media, government and private business. Employers value teachers’ strong skills in communication, leadership, flexibility and continued professional development.  
  1. World classroom
Hands-on activities in the laboratory are great to engage students with science and give them a taste of research work while performing the scientific method. However, there is an amazing array of resources available online to teach students about science and speak to scientific experts from around the world. For example, teaching students about volcanoes with a drone flight over hot lava in Hawaii, diving in a large tank with sharks via video conference with a marine biologist from Reef HQ in Townsville or a live Q&A with Australian NASA astronaut Andy Thomas. 
  1. New skills
I am passionate about science having obtained my Bachelor of Science and worked in museums and universities for a number of years. To be able to teach science, I will have to understand and keep abreast of the latest research findings, technologies and science events about a topic I enjoy.

As part of my degree, I plan to make the most of extra-curricular activities available at university, like the STEM Studio (www.stepup.edu.au), where pre-service teachers work alongside education academics and research scientists in a hands-on classroom to design new and innovative ways to incorporate science and technology in the classroom.