What Makes a Great STEM Teacher?

STEM education has become one of the most critical components of a modern and comprehensive educational curriculum. Students with a firm foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are best equipped to tackle our society’s most pressing obstacles.

Companies across many industries actively support organizations that are devoted to advancing the teachings of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A very important supporter in this field is US Storage Centers – a company that regularly contributes to the advancement of STEM through donations to local organizations. Supporting the STEM community is important to US Storage Centers as the company wants to empower as many individuals as possible and advance society to its best possible form.

In the spirit of advancing STEM educations around the country, here are some traits that make a great STEM teacher.

Hands-on Learning

Rather than teaching by the book and relying on written tests, great STEM teachers understand the importance of hands-on learning. They engage students with real-world activities whenever possible. However, great STEM teachers also know that hands-on activities should not only be fun and entertaining; they should also be intellectually stimulating and allow their students to develop analytical and reasoning skills.

Critical Thinking

STEM teachers are more than just simple dispensers of information; they are facilitators in the learning process. With an effective STEM curriculum and a concrete lesson plan, their students are encouraged to be more than just note takers and reciters of memorized facts. Great STEM teachers encourage students to develop claims, gather evidence, and offer reasoning to support their position, engaging their students in areas of reasoning and creativity to solve problems. A good teacher focuses on how the student reaches an answer and on how the answer can be applied, not just on whether the answer is the correct one.

Creativity

Education should not be about one-size-fits-all solutions and answers. The best STEM educators promote creativity in their lesson plans. Students should be encouraged to explore out-of-the-box ideas and methods for finding a solution. Discussion and debate between students is a necessity which allows for a deeper examination of the material and is one of the best ways for students to understand and bolster their ideas. Students engaged in STEM should learn that failure is a necessary part of the learning process and wise STEM teachers should embrace mistakes when they are accompanied by learning and examination.

Transfer Control of the Learning Process to Students

While teachers are responsible for designing projects and guiding students, teachers should be careful about how much control they exert over their students when exploring STEM concepts or participating in experiments. Rather than exerting control, teachers should be a resource available to challenge and drive students out of their comfort zone and guide exploration.

What a Great STEM Teacher Can Do

Cure cancer. Cancer affects millions of people and families every year because a cure has yet to be found. There are several organizations that have been devoted to supporting cancer research for many years, and although treatment options are increasing, there is still much to be achieved. US Storage Centers is proud to support Kure It Cancer Research, one of the organizations committed to funding cancer research. To date, Kure It has provided over $6 million in grants to scientists at several institutions with the hope that a cure for cancer will soon be discovered. Great STEM educators who inspire their students and help lay a solid educational foundation may be developing the individual who discovers the cure for cancer.