UTeach helps meet demand for new science and math teachers

Reihaneh Hajibeigi

The University’s UTeach program is partnering with the 100Kin10 movement to prepare up to 100,000 college graduates within 10 years to become secondary education math and science teachers.

The UTeach Institute will work with other organizations in the 100Kin10 movement to respond to the demand for high school science and math teachers. According to the UTeach Institute’s website, the 100Kin10 movement was initiated and funded by political and private organizations after President Barack Obama challenged American educators to push students to pursue teaching in math and science fields.

Lawrence Abraham, co-director of UTeach Natural Sciences at UT, said the UTeach program was established at UT in 1997 to serve as an outlet for students who were interested in pursuing a career in teaching math or science.

Students part of the UTeach program are required to pursue their preferred degree, but they are also able to work towards to becoming a Texas certified teacher in either general math, math and physics, or physical science, Abraham said.

Newly mandated requirements force high school students to take four years of math and science, and Abraham said he believes this will only increase the demand of engineering teachers for high school.

Alicia Beth, content and communications manager for the UTeach Science program, said in an email interview that 88 percent of UTeach graduates choose to become science or math teachers, and even five years later, 80 percent continue this path.

Beth said the need for science and math teachers would also aid the Hispanic and African-American’s push to gain representation in the science and math field.

As of spring 2011, 27 percent of UTeach graduates were either Hispanic or African-American. 

Beth said she believes any success UTeach achieves in participating in the 100Kin10 movement will be beneficial for the UTeach program at UT.

“Being named a 100Kin10 partner will not only bring more attention to the UTeach program, but it also validates the UTeach Institutes’ work to replicate it nationally,” Beth said.

Beth said she believes this is a crucial step to ensuring students become permanent teachers because they are able to shadow teachers who are already “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” certified. 

“One of the main advantages of the UTeach program model is that students begin teaching in classrooms their very first semester,” Beth said.

Being allowed to learn from STEM teachers exposes them to common obstacles that they would possibly face, Beth said.

Because universities all over the country became interested in implementing their own UTeach programs, Abraham said that in 2005, the UTeach Institute was created as a completely separate entity. 

While Abraham agrees this would bring national exposure, the work between UTeach Institution and 100Kin10 will not affect the College of Natural Sciences’ UTeach program.

“This partnership will not cost us anything,” Abraham said. “It will also not be there to generate revenue for us here.” 

Printed on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 as: UTeach pairs with 100Kin10 to increase science teachers