Engineer Your World teachers come from a variety of STEM and teaching backgrounds. Some are new to engineering but have many years of classroom experience, some are new to teaching but have industry experience in an engineering field, and some are new to both engineering and teaching. Some have experience with extended project-based instruction, while others have never facilitated a classroom project that lasted longer than a few days. Some are certified to teach courses in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, while others are certified in physics, mathematics, chemistry or engineering. Yet even with such diversity of background and experience, there are certain characteristics that all of our most successful teachers share. These are:
- Comfort with the uncertainty of engineering design and a willingness to answer students’ questions by saying, “I don’t know, but let’s find out”;
- Belief in a constructivist approach to education (i.e., a willingness to be the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”);
- A belief in the value of “productive failure” in the learning process;
- Strong classroom management skills, including the ability to manage the “controlled chaos” of multiple student teams working at different paces (with the support materials, tips and techniques offered in the Engineer Your World curriculum);
- The ability to model perseverance and to guide students through projects that last for as long as seven weeks;
- The flexibility to let students “think outside the box” and follow through on proposed solutions; and
- A willingness and ability to reflect upon their own practice, and to establish goals for their own instructional learning and growth.
Teacher Certification Requirements
Engineer Your World teachers hold certifications in many fields. In Texas, if the course is taught as Engineering Design and Problem Solving, then these certifications are required. In many states, no particular certification is required, but check with your education association in your state to be certain.
“The support from UTeachEngineering is fantastic!”
– Elyse Zimmer, teacher at KIPP Houston High School, Houston, TX