The Physics Teacher Education Coalition recently announced the creation of a new award program, PhysTEC Teacher of the Year. This award is designed to highlight the impact of recent graduates from physics teacher preparation programs in the classroom. Each of the winners was nominated by the PhysTEC member institution from which they graduated or received their teaching credentials. One national winner and several local winners were selected.
The recipient of this recognition for Arizona is Zachary Kovach, a teacher at La Joya Community High School in the Tolleson Union High School District. Mr. Kovach is a graduate of Arizona State University.
“The future jobs here in the United States will be in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and innovation,” Kovach said. “To succeed, the youth of America will have to shift toward these technical areas…The most important thing I can teach my students is critical thinking, problem solving, group dynamics, public speaking, and a general science literacy”
The local PhysTEC Teachers of the Year will receive a certificate of recognition as well as official acknowledgement to their school administrators.
PhysTEC, led by the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, congratulates these outstanding professionals for their contributions to their schools and the physics community.
The United States has a severe, long-term shortage of qualified physics teachers. In 2013 the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics reported, “The need for qualified teachers is greater now than at any previous time in history.” Of the approximately, 1,400 new teachers who are hired to teach physics each year, only 35% have majored in physics or had a physics education.
PhysTEC aims to improve the education of future physics teachers by transforming physics departments, creating successful models for physics teacher education programs, and disseminating best practices. The project has supported more than 40 sites to build physics teacher education programs and established a national coalition of over 300 institutions committed to improving physics teacher preparation.
The PhysTEC project receives funding from the National Science Foundation and the American Physical Society Campaign for the 21st Century and is led by the APS in partnership with the American Association of Physics Teachers.