With more and more emphasis on STEM education, great science and math teachers are in high demand. Houston is a great location to find great math and science education positions, as the city is growing, and more and more schools (public, charter and private) are being founded each school year. Elisa Cardnell, a physics and geometry teacher in HISD, talks about how her education brought her to her current position.

(Photo Courtesy of Elisa Cardnell)

(Photo Courtesy of Elisa Cardnell)

What degree program did you study?

“I went through the Master’s of Arts in Teaching program at Rice University. I am currently in the internship portion of the program, as a first-year teacher, and will complete my degree this spring.”

What does your current job entail?

“I am a physics and geometry teacher at Carnegie Vanguard High School, in the Houston Independent School District. I have five sections of physics and one of geometry. For the physics classes, I work with a co-teacher and together we are innovating the class to focus on inquiry-style labs (doing more open-ended labs prior to lecture). I am also the science department chair for the school.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“Yes. My program not only provided the mechanics for the job (the usual education psychology courses and pedagogical approaches), but also heavily emphasized the importance of student-centered classrooms.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education?

“I participate in the Rice Excellence in Secondary Science teaching program. This is my second year being involved, and it has been the driving factor behind my style of teaching.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?

“Teaching is an amazingly rewarding job; to see my students take enjoyment from learning such a “hard” subject makes me enjoy going to work every day. Like any career, it is hard work, and there is always someone counting on you. You have to be passionate, caring and organized. Every day has new challenges and new joys.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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