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Money and incentives key to STEM teacher recruitment

April 06, 2017

To recruit more STEM students to teach in their field after graduation, pay them more money says a study by the American Physical Society (APS). Recognizing that innovation relies heavily on STEM initiatives and an educated workforce, the APS in collaboration with the American Chemical Society, Computing Research Association, and Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership set out to learn what discourages students in STEM from eventually teaching the subjects. Although STEM students who responded to a survey indicated they may be interested in the teaching profession, their misconceptions about salary and other factors seem to be keeping them out of teaching.

In truth, however, middle and high school STEM teachers earn more than the average college lecturer or instructor, the study maintains. The study recommends that STEM faculty and advisors at the college level should be encouraging their students to consider teaching and providing them with accurate information. It also recommends support for strong programs that prepare students for STEM teaching, and advocates for higher salaries and summer stipends for teachers in the hardest-to-staff STEM disciplines. The study, Recruiting Teachers in High-Needs Stem Fields: A Survey of Current Majors and Recent STEM Graduates, also notes that the right job “is not simply a matter of getting the highest salary. Teaching has some particularly rewarding features that other jobs do not match, and both non-teachers and teachers recognize their appeal.”

education, stem