Prospective Teachers

Advising Sheet for those seeking Physics Teaching Certification
(especially in New Hampshire)

  1. Required courses : you need either a B.A. or B.S. in physics, plus take Astronomy (Physics 406). The B.S. requires more physics courses than the B.A., and the B.A. requires two semesters of a language. The choice is yours. You may also want to minor in Chemistry, Mathematics, or Earth Science, as often physics teachers must teach other courses as well.
  2. Non-required courses of special interest to future teachers:
    1. Physics 501 (offered every fall) is about issues in teaching and learning physics.
    2. History and Philosophy of Science: as a teacher, it is very useful to be able to include some discussion of the history, philosophy and ethics of science and technology. When you chose your Discovery Courses, look for courses that would give you some insight into these issues. (We don't list them here since they change from time to time).
  3. Informal opportunities
    1. Doing research with a physics professor will give you valuable insights into how science is carried out, and you will learn a lot about the particular field that you are working in. See our web page on student research opportunities for more information. You can do research here with UNH professors, but there are also many summer research programs at other institutions.
    2. The Lowell Regional Physics Alliance is a group out of UMass Lowell for physics teachers. As pre-service teachers, you would be welcome to attend. There are about 4 meetings each academic year.
    3. The Physics Teacher is the journal for high school physics teachers. UNH has an on-line subscription. Browsing through the magazine will give you insights into what physics teachers care about. There is also a column for new teachers that might be of particular interest.
    4. Informal nteractions with a physics teacher can be very helpful in understanding teaching as a career. This could include classroom observations and informal conversations. See Dr. Meredith to make arrangements.
  4. Early Teaching Experiences:
    1. The UNH Physics department has a learning assistant program that allows undergraduates to help in introductory level courses.  
    2. Ed 500 allows you to spend some time in schools to find out if teaching is for you. You will spend five hours a week in the classroom plus two hours in a seminar each week. You should plan to take this your sophomore year. You need to apply to the Education department about mid-semester the semester before in order to get a place in the class (in March for the fall semester, in October for the Spring semester). See www.unh.edu/education/news for more details on deadlines and the on-line application. Live, Learn and Teach is a summer program that includes Ed 500 and two other teacher education courses (Ed 700/800 and Ed 703/803). See the Education Department website for details. Ed 500 is required for gaining admission to the UNH graduate program in education.
  5. Advising:
    1. Prof. Meredith (dawn.meredith@unh.edu) in Physics is familiar with the teacher preparation program.
    2. Professors Diane Silva Pimentel and Eleanor Abrams in the Education Department specialize in Science Education; they can advise you on the Education portion of this program.
    3. Cindy Glidden in the Education Department is also an advisor for all education students.
  6. Teach Grant "provides financial assistance to teacher candidates entering high-need/critical shortage fields [physics is one of these] who will serve as highly qualified teachers in low-income schools for four of eight years following completion of their program at UNH". See the UNH Department of Education web page for more details.
  7. Noyce Grant provides financial assistance to those planning on going into teaching in mathematics or science.  For more information, see the UNH Noyce web site.
  8. Loan forgiveness is also offered for teachers for some Federal Loans.
  9. Early admission to the Department of Education: first semester seniors with a GPA of 3.2 or better can apply in the fall to the UNH Graduate Education program for early admission in January of their senior year. The advantage of this is that they can take up to three education courses that count for both their undergraduate and graduate degree.  If this is an option, be sure to take GRE's in the summer between your junior and senior year.
  10. M.Ed. versus M.A.T. There are two possible graduate degrees for teachers. Both require 12 credits (2 semesters) of internship, plus 20 credits of course work. The M.A.T. requires that 3 of these courses must be in the area of concentration (physics in this case) at the 800 level and above; students who receive the M.A.T. do not need to take the Praxis II test for licensure. The Ed 891 Science Methods course counts as one of the courses in the concentration. Other good choices might be the upper level physics electives.
  11. Licensure is obtained by applying to the State of NH Department of Education. UNH will recommend students for licensure who have a B.A. or B.S. in physics, Physics 406 (Astronomy), plus the education courses listed in the next section. In addition, those who plan to teach secondary level physics must pass the Physics Praxis test. Those students recommended by UNH who pass the Praxis exam will obtain a beginning educator license which is issued for three years. NH licensure is portable to almost all other of the 50 states, though sometimes there are additional requirements such as taking a test.
  12. Second certification is often highly recommended for physics teachers, since often teaching physics in a school is not a full load and you might be asked to teach in other content areas. Here is some general advice:
    1. Concentrate on getting your primary certification first. Thinking about getting two certifications at once can get overwhelming.
    2. Pick your second certification area based on what you love. Some obvious choices are chemistry or mathematics.
    3. You can certainly find time for some courses in your second area while at UNH. Your employer can often pay for the remaining courses for the second ceritification once you get a job.
  13. Education courses required for licensure Unless otherwise noted, courses are offered fall, spring, and summer.
    • Ed 700/800 Educational Structure and Change
    • Ed 701/801 Human Development and Learning
    • Ed 705/805 Alternative Perspectives on the Nature of Education (must be taken before your internship)
    • Ed 707/807 Teaching Reading through content areas (2 credits)
    • Ed 751/851B Education Exceptional Learners
    • Ed 791/891 Methods of Teaching Secondary School Science (offered fall only)
    • Ed 900 (fall) Internship
    • Ed 901 (spring) Internship

Sample Schedules

Below are two sample schedules, one for the BS, and one for the BA.

WI stands for writing intensive course. You need four of these; two are prescribed (English 401 and Physics 705); the other two are your choice.

Gen Ed stands for General Education courses (now called Discovery). You need 10 of these; two or four are prescribed (English 401 and Math 425 for BA students; Chem 403 and Chem 404 as well for BS students). The other eight or six are your choice.

This is quite a packed schedule. You can make it less packed by taking Gen/Ed's and WI's and lower level courses (e.g. Chem 403/404; CS410, Live Learn and Teach) in the summer. Also, some courses are both Gen Ed's and WI's; if you can find such a course that interests you, you can free up one to two slots in your schedule.

B.A. Schedule

Fall Spring

Calc/phys 425/407
2 Gen Ed/ WI's
Phsics 400 (1 credit)

Calc/Phys 426/408
Eng 401
Gen Ed/WI

Linearity (6 credits)
Ph 505 & 506
Gen Ed/ WI
Physics 406

Ph 615 - mechanics
Linearity (6 credits)
Ed 500 - exploring teaching
No fourth course

Ph 616 - mechanics
Language
Gen Ed/ WI
Gen Ed/WI

Ph 701 QM I
Ph 508 –thermodynamics
Language
Gen Ed/ WI

Ph 605 – circuits lab
3 Gen Ed/ WI (9)
If GPA is > 3.2, apply for early admit to grad school in Ed;
then up to three ed courses can double count for
BA/BS and M.Ed. or M.A.T.

Ph 703 EM 1
Ph 705 modern physics lab/ WI

If you gain early admission to grad school:
Ed 700 - Ed structure and change
Ed 705 - Contemp perspectives

Otherwise: 2 electives

Receive BA; Enter graduate school, Education program; take Ed 701 (Human Develop) in summer

Ed 900 - Internship
Ed 807 - Reading in Content Areas
Ed 891 - Second Science Methods

Ed 901- Internship
Ed 751 - Except learners
Recieve M.Ed. and NH certification in Secondary Physics Teaching

B.S. Schedule

Fall Spring

Calc/phys 425/407
Gen Ed/ WI
Chem 403
Physics 400 (1 credit)

Calc/Phys 426/408
Eng 401
Chem 404

Linearity (6 credits)
Ph 505 & 506
Gen Ed/ WI
CS410

Ph 615 - mechanics
Linearity (6 credits)
Ed 500 - exploring teaching

Ph 605 – circuits lab
 

 

Ph 616 - mechanics
Physics 406 - Astronomy
Gen Ed/WI

Ph 508 –thermodynamics

Ph 701 QM I

Phys 703 - E&M I
Gen Ed/ WI

Ph 702 - Quantum II
Physics 704 - E&M II
Physics elective
Gen Ed/WI

Ph 705 modern physics lab/ WI
Physics elective
Gen Ed/WI
Gen Ed/WI

Recieve BS; Enter graduate school, Education program; take Ed 801 (Human Develop) & Ed 800 (Ed structure and change) & Ed 805 (Contemp Perspectives) in summer

Ed 900 - Internship
Ed 807 - Reading in Content Areas
Ed 891 - Secondary Science Methods

Ed 901- Internship
Ed 751 - Except learners
Recieve M.Ed. and NH certification in Secondary Physics Teaching