Staying sharp

After a number of years working in the science industry I have now become a teacher. Do you have suggestions for maintaining my skills in both education and science?
– B., Arizona

I like your plan to stay current and active in your former work! Here are a few suggestions:

Watch for professional development (PD) opportunities offered by industry.
Many industries and related organizations encourage teachers to keep current and offer workshops, field trips and other PD. They will often provide high-quality resources. I was fortunate to have attended PD in forestry, hydro electricity, atomic energy, medical imaging, agriculture, GIS, mining, and more! The information to attend these sessions is usually sent to local schools and distributed to staff. These industry-led workshops tend to fill quickly so enroll early.

Attend conferences.
Industries hold workshops at local and state conferences as well as NSTA area and national conferences which can be real boosts to your teaching.

Many organizations look for teachers and summers can be an optimum time. I have served as an education specialist on various boards, learning a tremendous amount along the way. Consider volunteering at zoos, museums, university faculties, to help with their outreach programs, or other opportunities. You don’t have to be a tour guide—volunteer to do something totally unrelated to teaching. I once collected insects for a local nature center.

Become more active in teacher and science organizations.
Participating in local, state, and national professional organizations creates opportunities for you to expand your network and learn cutting-edge ideas. You can simultaneously hone your skills and help your professional communities by joining committees or taking on leadership roles.

Help organize science fairs.
You will work with many industry partners who will become resources and connections. Also, the bright, amazing minds of the fair attendees will astound you – further motivating you to keep current!

Hope this helps!

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