Mount Clear College teachers Chris Harry and Matt Cornish have expanded their teaching skills under a new program to help address the shortage of science and maths teachers in secondary schools.
The pair were part of the first intake of teachers in the state government's Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative, training current teachers in other subjects to become science and maths teachers.
Mr Harry, a physical education/health teacher, and Mr Cornish, a maths teacher, have both taken part in the science stream of the program which will allow them to teach the subject to students in years seven to 10.
Mr Cornish has previously taught science "out of field", or without specialising in the subject, and wanted to broaden his knowledge and understanding of the curriculum to teach the subject again.
"Chemistry in particular and biology have never been my strong points," he admitted. "When I reflect back on when I was teaching general science I used to use the textbook as a reference point but I know from teaching maths there are different ways you can provide students to explore the curriculum. Me not having that content understanding means I was using that resource solely as a focus point when I know from my experience that's not the best way to go."
The resources and understanding he's gained from the program, run through Deakin University, means he feels he'll be much better equipped to teach science again.
"It allows me now to really look at delivering science when in front of a classroom with a more student-centred and inquiry approach," he said.
Deakin University provides the teacher training, with participants taking part in 16 face to face course days as well as after-school virtual workshops. At the end of the program teachers receive a fully-funded graduate certificate in either maths or science through the university with credit points being able to be put towards a Master of Education.
Mr Harry decided to tackle the program to broaden his own teaching and was already interested in science, having started his university years studying sports science before turning to teaching.
"This gives me another string to my bow as an educator ... to get a wide appreciation of different teaching practices and subjects so I jumped at it."
"With the shortage of science and maths teachers this is about trying to upskill staff to be able to do that in their own setting."
Education minister James Merlino will today open expressions of interest for the second intake of the Secondary Mathematics and Science Initiative, encouraging current teachers to take part and become in-field maths and science teachers by 2023.
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"We're proud to invest our teachers to become specialists in mathematics and science, to ensure all Victorian children have the best educational outcomes in science, maths and technology subjects," Mr Merlino said
The intake is limited to 75 places in maths and 25 places in science, with 50 places reserved for regional and rural participants. The the $17.8 million program expected to provide training for around 270 out-of-field secondary teachers over two intakes.
"It's fantastic to see teachers from Mount Clear College taking on the challenge to upskill in maths and science," said Buninyong MP Michaela Settle, who encouraged teachers from across the region to apply.
"This will help them teach STEM subjects to local students and gain further qualifications."
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