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Essays on Teacher Preparation by Workshop Participants


Cassandra Runyon (Planetary Geology)
& Leslie Sautter (Marine Geology)

Department of Geology
School of Science and Mathematics
College of Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina



Introduction
The College of Charleston (CofC) is a four-year liberal arts college located in Charleston, SC. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds. The student body now numbers approximately 12,000 students, 70 percent of whom are South Carolinians; other students come from the other 49 states and 65 foreign countries.

Currently, there is not a formal Earth Science Teacher degree program at the College of Charleston, despite the increased the need for science and mathematics teachers in every county of the state. The college does, however, offer training for Earth Science Teachers at two different levels:

  1. In-service teaching for post-graduates as part of the Critical Needs Teacher program, for candidates holding a Geology degree;
  2. Masters degree programs
    • The School of Education and School of Science and Mathematics together offer a Master's of Education in Science and Mathematics (M.Ed.S.M.). This program is offered for practicing teachers and post-graduates.
    • The School of Education also offers an M.A.T.
We both work closely with students and faculty in these programs to mentor the graduate students, some of whom are in-service teachers while others are pre-service teachers.

Challenges
The main challenge we have faced has been overcoming the state requirements for teacher certification in Earth Science. Thus, we have placed more emphasis on working with the graduate and in-service teachers. We're now starting to work with the pre-service educators and will continue to work with the local Science Supervisor, State Science Supervisor and State Board of Education as we work through these next steps.

Currently, pre-service teachers are required to take a two-semester sequence in a single lab science (8 hours total), plus an additional semester in a different lab science (4 hours). None of the available introductory courses are geared toward teachers. The science faculty are opposed to such courses, as they feel the curriculum would lack rigor and would "water down" the content.

Recruiting, mentoring and advising future teachers

Role of introductory courses in teacher preparation

Research and teaching experiences for future teachers

Links between education and geoscience departments

Supporting alumni in the teaching profession

Strategies:
We will continue to collaborate with the School of Education to develop more funding opportunities and to improve classroom experiences for future science teachers at the College of Charleston.

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