Beverly Frommel: Clover High School Science Teacher.
Frommel, 33, is one two S.C. teachers awarded a National Science Teachers Association fellowship. She and 184 other science teachers will take part in a year-long professional development program aimed at lowering the number of new science educators who leave the classroom.
Why is there a high attrition rate for newer science teachers?
You need to have an understanding of many sciences, not just the branch you are most comfortable with, because they are all interconnected. Unlike many disciplines, like language arts and math, what is fact today may be disproved tomorrow. Therefore, it's vital to always keep learning, because the knowledge in our content area changes almost daily. Another reason: Teaching can be lonely if you don't have a great support structure. I'm so blessed to have wonderful teachers in my department. ... We all help each other, so that has made it so much easier on me as I learn the ropes.
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What does this fellowship mean for you? What do you hope to gain?
It's an awesome opportunity to learn from others around the country, including monthly Web conference calls where we can talk with pre-eminent researchers, authors and teachers. The mentorship program allows me to work one on one with a mentor. My National Science Teachers Association mentor ... teaches physical science and chemistry to the same grade level students as I do and has over 25 years of teaching experience. She is a wonderful resource. We work together on a special curriculum that was put together with Montana State University and the University of California-Berkeley.
How do you think it will affect your students?
My hope is that this opportunity will enable me to learn not only the content area better but also to learn about cutting-edge methods of teaching science. I am fortunate that I feel like I'm good at forging good relationships with my students. ... I hope that what I learn through this fellowship will enable me to ... reach them with the content they need to be informed citizens and emerging scientists, even if it's not their chosen profession.