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Physics Teacher Education Program Information

Why teach physics?

Kids build a wind turbine
Physics campers test out their wind turbine
  • Help and connect with people every day, and inspire them to love learning
  • Learn something new about physics and people every day
  • Have fun with exciting experiments, profound ideas, and vibrant people
  • Earn a good salary with good benefits, job security, professional development opportunities, and a great community of colleagues

Texas State University is a Comprehensive PhysTEC site as of Fall 2015. This means that Texas State is one of a few sites for focused national effort for improving the number of physics teachers and the quality of their preparation - and therefore, a great place for you to train to become an excellent physics teacher!

 

Teach Physics

This page should address everything you might want to know about becoming a physics teacher through Texas State. If you have suggestions for improvements, or if you would like more information, please contact Dr. Hunter Close at hc18@txstate.edu.

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GPA requirement for all teachers

The State of Texas has a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5. You will not be able to be a teacher at a public school in Texas unless your overall GPA is 2.5 or greater, or the GPA of your last 60 hours is 2.5 or greater. 

Teacher preparation programs through Texas State University currently have a minimum GPA requirement of 2.75.

Learning Assistant Program

All students who might be interested in teaching physics as a career are strongly encouraged to participate in the Learning Assistant Program.

RADIANS Teacher Scholarship Program at TXST

RADIANS Teacher Scholarship Program. Earn a $10K scholarship for committing to teach for 2 years. 

Teacher Recruitment Program at TXST

Teacher Recruitment Program

If you are close to finishing, or have finished, a Bachelor's degree without teacher certification, the TRP is a great way to accomplish teacher certification. It is an intensive field-based program that is based on the Round Rock campus of Texas State University. It can be extended for an M.Ed, including some graduate coursework in physics, if preferred.

Students with a chemistry or mathematics undergraduate major will need to have completed approximately the equivalent of a physics minor in order to qualify for a initial teacher certification that includes physics.

Be aware that this program has its own admissions deadlines, requirements, and processes.

Office of Educator Preparation at TXST

Office of Educator Preparation at Texas State University

This office ultimately determines whether a teacher candidate has met the state requirements for teacher certification. The staff manages teacher certification for all physics students pursuing certification and also can facilitate post-baccalaureate certification.

Be aware that this program has its own admissions deadlines, requirements, and processes.

Mentoring for New Teachers

If you are a new teacher who is a graduate of Texas State University, we encourage you to seek mentoring to help you succeed in the first few years of teaching. We have experienced Teachers-in-Residence who can help you. Also, check out AAPT's eMentoring program.

Salary Information

Teacher salaries are a moving target (that is generally moving up), so it is better not to publish too many details here. As of the 2016-17 Academic Year, most base salaries in districts surrounding Texas State University are, for new teachers (0 years experience) and a Bachelor's degree, in the $46-52K range. Additional pay is often available for doing additional work (e.g., summer school), having a master's degree, being bilingual, achieving high student learning outcomes, serving in leadership positions, or other various incentive programs. To get the most up to date information, do an internet search on "teacher salary [name of district]" to find a school district's teacher salary schedule. Note that these schedules do not predict what anyone will earn in the future; they only say what teachers with various levels of experience earn at the present time in their district.

International Physics Teaching

International schools are located in countries around the world. With some exceptions, they are independent of one another and vary widely. Some are privately owned and run for profit, some are non-profit organizations run by parent boards. Common curricula include: American based (Common Core etc.), British National Curriculum (Key stages, IGCSE, A-levels), and International Baccalaureate (PYP, MYP, DP, CP). All schools are eager to find good Physics and Mathematics teachers who are passionate about teaching all students - not just those who are potential scientists. The recruiting cycle starts in the Fall for the next August, but it is still possible to find jobs in the late spring and even summer. Many candidates sign up with recruiting agencies. The most common are: http://www.searchassociates.com, https://www.iss.edu, and https://schrole.com. These agencies hold job fairs at convention centers around the world. Candidates and recruiters attend with interviews held in hotel rooms. Decisions are expected before the end of the fair. So, candidates need to do their homework before attending. Many schools are trying to do much of their hiring through 'Skype' interviews before the fairs, but the fairs are still an important part of recruiting. Hiring criteria vary widely. In many cases these criteria reflect the requirements for a work visa in the host country (e.g., in Turkey you must have a teaching certificate, in Shanghai you must be under 65 and have two years experience after your BS degree). Generally speaking, most recruiters would like to hire someone with two years of international teaching. Experience with the International Baccalaureate (http://www.ibo.org) is often seen as a plus. For a good Physics or Mathematics candidate, however, most recruiters are willing to be as creative and flexible as possible. Many teachers get their initial experience at schools that are less desirable, and then move to better schools. Some find it is a fabulous career option. There are very few professions that offer as much autonomy in deciding where you will work. Most international companies have a handful of sites through which an employee might rotate, but an international school job fair offers prospects in most countries around the globe. (Thanks to Andrew Crouse, experienced International Physics Teacher, for this material.)

Instructional Resources for Physics Teachers

PhysPort is the the go-to place for physics teachers of all levels to find resources based on physics education research (PER) to support their teaching.

Physics Teacher Network Meetings

Physics Teacher Network Meeting
Physics Teacher Network Meeting

The Texas State University Department of Physics hosts events for a group of physics teachers in the Central Texas region. These meetings have been held 5:30 - 7:30 PM on select Thursday evenings throughout the academic year.

In 2015-16, the events were Sep 24, Oct 29, Dec 03, Feb 11, Mar 24, and Apr 22. In 2016-17, the events are Sep 21, Oct 19, Nov 16, Feb 02, Mar 02, and Apr 06.

Participating teachers may receive continuing education credits through the LBJ Institute, a $50 stipend, and dinner.

The purpose of the events is to connect physics teachers in the area with each other, with physics students who are considering careers in physics teaching, and with great ideas for improving physics teaching from the worlds of teaching practice and education research.

Participating teachers have come from San Marcos, Dripping Springs, Lockhart, San Antonio, Seguin, New Braunfels, and Austin.