The Science Teacher Certification Effect
Scott Worland started teaching science at Long Trail School, a coeducational, college preparatory day school located in Dorset, Vermont, in 2003—the year he graduated from AUNE with a Master of Science in Environmental Studies with a Science Teacher Certification.
Scott’s path to becoming a science teacher at AUNE connects four graduating Science Teacher Certification classes, beginning as far back as 1979. Scott student taught with Dan Flerlage (K-12 Biology Certification, 1979) at the Ithaca Alternative Community School in Ithaca, NY in 2003. Jimmy Karlan, the Director of AUNE’s Science Teacher Certification concentration student taught with Dan in 1981 when Dan was the middle school science teacher at the Chesterfield Elementary/Middle School in Chesterfield, NH. And now one of Scott’s former high school biology students, Tom Carroll, is a Science Teacher Certification student who hopes to student teach with Scott in spring 2017.
So in summary: Dan was Jimmy’s cooperating teacher and mentor. Dan and Jimmy were Scott’s mentors. And Scott is Tom’s mentor.
Dr. Jimmy Karlan served as Scott’s concentration director, advisor, and professor. Jimmy knew Scott showed exceptional promise as a future teacher so he insisted that Scott student teach with his own mentor, Dan Flerlage (’79), at the Ithaca Alternative Community School.
“Scott’s classes are vibrant, playful, rigorous, collaborative, and real,” Jimmy wrote in a letter of recommendation on behalf of Scott. “As a way to learn about evolutionary adaptations, you’ll interact with 15 different living species and theorize how their particular characteristics have come into being over millions of years. As a way to learn about scientific process, you will be challenged to analyze groundwater data in order to determine the contaminants responsible for a host of health problems in a community. And as a way to learn about renewable energy, electricity, and magnetism, you’ll design and create a functioning alternative-powered generator.”
So it should be of little surprise that what goes around comes around, eventually. It would take just another 12 years after Scott started teaching before Tom Carroll, one of Scott’s inspired high school biology students at the Long Trail School, joined AUNE to earn his M.S. in Environmental Studies along with his Science Teacher Certification.
“I was initially thrilled to find out that Tom’s experiences with high school research led him to pursue biology at the undergraduate level,” Worland said. “I’m equally excited to discover that he is now pursuing a Master of Science from AUNE and wishes to become a high school biology teacher! This is truly a full cycle that any teacher would be happy to discover!”
Even better, they share the same advisor.
“This is the first time in the 21 years I’ve been teaching at AUNE,” says Jimmy, “that one of my science teacher certification students was inspired to do so and to do it at AUNE because he was taught by one of my previous science certification students.” And it’s even sweeter that Scott and Jimmy shared Dan as their mentor.
At AUNE, the Science Teacher Certification program values active classrooms where students and teachers work together to solve compelling classroom and community-based problems. These indoor and outdoor classrooms are playful, messy, and yet very rigorous places, where students design their own scientific inquiries; teachers act more like coaches, facilitators, provocateurs, and guides that can bring enthusiasm and engagement to their science classrooms.
Scott truly embodies the type of teacher the Science Teacher Certification concentration aims to nurture. In addition to creating enthusiasm and engagement in his classroom, he is encouraging the next generation of AUNE change agents by inspiring his students to follow in his teaching footsteps.