Bill in Senate committee gives more options for teacher career pathway

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Liz Bell is a researcher and reporter for EducationNC. She grew up in Hickory, and went to Fred T. Foard High School. Liz is a recent graduate from the School of Media and Journalism at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She has previously written for The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s student newspaper, and The News and Observer.… Read full bio »

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  • I’m not jazzed about the state establishing a new commission — do we have to have a commission for everything? — I’m all for taking a closer look at what someone really needs to know in order to be a teacher at a particular level.

    Ten years ago or so I investigated what it would take for me to become a teacher here in NC, in particular the “Troops to Teachers” program since I’d just retired from the USAF. Despite the physics and mathematics inherent in my Mechanical Engineering degree, I was told that I would have to take 18 hours of advanced college-level physics just to teach HS physics. Imagine if I’d asked about teaching some other subject based on, you know, actual experience with the subject matter.

    So, color me skeptical of this particular move but hopeful that something might shake loose somewhere.


    • L Faith Birmingham

      You are correct Mr Rhinehart – the undergrad physics and mathematics course requirements for ME Bachelor’s are basically the same as for the Science Education- Physics concentration Bachelor’s to teach HS physics: 3 semesters calculus + 1 semester differential equations; 2 semesters of general physics w lab [8 hrs]. The remaining 10 credit hrs of required ‘college-level physics’ courses = various physics electives, most w/o lab sections so 3 credits hrs/semester. Interestingly one of the suggested ‘physics electives’ IS a ME course- ‘Fluid Physics’ – which is a required course for ME majors! Go figure ! ;-)
      [based on NCSU’s currently listed course requirements for a Bachelors’ degree in the above noted majors]

      • Gray Rinehart

        Wow, I had forgotten about making that comment; it’s been a while.

        I see now that I was unclear in my response. I was told I would have to take 18 ADDITIONAL hours of physics BEYOND my engineering degree – not 18 hours of pedagogy, which I might have understood, but 18 more hours of advanced physics courses. I could see mandating a few more hours, but if the requirements were really “basically the same,” then I think my ME degree would have counted for more.

        It is entirely possible I was given bad information. C’est la vie.