“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

Being a teacher is easily one of the most underrated, and often underpaid professions and this is quite unjustly so. Their task is so much more important than one may realise and if it were not for teachers’ sheer hard work and passion, most students would not be able to achieve the goals they aspire to.

A well-skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced teacher makes all the difference to your appreciation of a subject. A teacher who is passionate about their subject will inspire you often with an interest that will last a lifetime! Hats off to all teachers … but which hats are they wearing? Teachers coach many different subjects, but this is particularly key to those who teach STEM as this requires a broad skill set. 

But First,

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths. The other variations include STEAM – where A stands for Artistic Design and STREAM – Where R stands for Reading.

STEM is a step ahead of traditional schooling, where the aforementioned subjects are taught individually. STEM explores interdisciplinary connections by teaching these subjects together so that students learn to coordinate and synchronise skills gaining a new perspective on traditional thinking. The sciences are intricately connected to maths, for example, integrating physics and mechanical reasoning with mathematical formulas can lead to an understanding of engineering and technology.

STEM education not only teaches students to build new skills in the fields of robotics and coding, but it also teaches them competencies such as problem-solving, innovation, creativity, and other lifelong skills. Take the Tokyo Coding Club, for example, who provides live, online, and one-to-one as well as group classes for STEM courses that will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end.

How Is STEM Different From Other Methods of Learning?

“It’s not that I’m smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”.

Albert Einstein

Would you rather attend a lecture on how to build a website, or actually sit at a desk and learn to build one?

STEM education is not confined to the boundaries of a textbook, it takes you into the real world giving you hands-on experience, to think out of the box in contrast with more traditional learning systems which rely on increasing knowledge without much practical engagement.

When you put a problem in front of a STEM student they can apply cross-subject skills sets to problem solve through exploration and discovery, to create through innovation rather than only historic knowledge. 

In a world increasingly driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), having a STEM education increases your career prospects across all faculties paving the way forward for a new generation of thinkers.

So…how do you choose the right teacher?

What Makes a Great STEM Teacher?

All teachers have wonderful qualities, but STEM teachers particularly are at the cutting edge of shaping future generations and world changers – they need a few additional skills to ensure they can inspire that creative spark within. When looking for a course or teacher, look for teachers who have some of the following qualities:

  1. They enjoy what they teach

Teachers should be learners, practicing what they preach. Though obvious, this is one of the most important points to keep in mind. Before you begin to teach, you must begin to learn. A STEM teacher must learn the subjects thoroughly before entering the class. Understanding the basics and putting them to practice before training somebody else will always be mutually beneficial. Patiently exploring both mistakes and successes is part of being a good teacher, this helps students on their learning journey but also helps teachers to evolve and adapt to refine their teaching style.

  1. Patience and listening skills

One of the most important virtues of a teacher, patience is key to teaching well and teaching effectively. Different students have different speeds of grasping information and learning. Your teacher may have to simply wait for you to complete that circuit board, or be patient while you try to grasp the multifaceted nature of the subject. A good STEM teacher needs to be a good listener, and be open to hearing your doubts and listen to you with understanding while you narrate your struggles.

  1. Facilitates the learning process

If you make a mistake, and you’re corrected while making it, you won’t learn anything from it. An ideal STEM teacher will let you make a mistake and figure out how to rectify it unless you’re sticking a finger into a socket! Any sort of interference with your exploration journey will hinder your learning curve – and you will probably repeat the same mistake, without realizing where you went wrong.

Success often comes after a myriad of failures; such challenges are to be embraced, and not be embarrassed about, and a good teacher must encourage an independent learning process.

So next time you feel vexed at your teacher for letting you spend all that time calculating the wrong formula, know and trust that they know better.

  1. Adapts to different learning styles

A good teacher will evolve along with their student, and this is especially true for STEM teachers as our understanding of concept relationships is ever-growing. This is one area where students may even know more than their teachers and it’s important to understand the two-way street learning method. Students may be equally innovative coming up with novel solutions and every new problem requires a new solution.

Look for a teacher with whom you can communicate well and share your ideas – a teacher that is part of your learning experience and process.

  1. Takes you outside the classroom

Learning takes a new path when you’ve put your books aside and gotten into the field. A real-life mathematical problem will teach you much more than one solved on paper. An ideal STEM teacher will make sure you step outside the classroom and bring the theories taught to you to life.

When you’re taught a simple acid-base reaction, you may or may not retain it. You may not even understand it. But if you’re shown how acid and base mix together to form a salt, like potassium permanganate, and water, you’ll remember the purple-hued magic happening in front of your eyes.

 At Young Scholarz, we’ve collaborated with Tokyo to provide classes bearing in mind that the end goal is to grow – not to just learn static content. 

  1. Provides you with a unique learning experience 

Not all five fingers are the same. Similarly, not all students work the same way. A good STEM teacher will come to appreciate where you excel and where you lack the skills. Humans in general excel in one of three types of intellect – practical, creative, and analytical intelligence.

As STEM uses all three in one or the other way, your teacher should know where you need attention and where you need praise. By providing opportunities to explore your strengths and weaknesses, you may naturally lean towards the subject where your key interests lie. Our STEM classes do just that, we specialize in one-on-one teaching so that you get the attention you require!

  1. Is up-to-date with developments in the STEM industry

As in any other subject, a great STEM teacher is required to be well informed with the latest developments in the relevant fields of sciences, mathematics, and technology.

Reading the news and updates regarding a new scientific find, or the development of a new vaccine helps the teacher design new methods of teaching. Following top leaders and powerful influencers from the STEM industry can help one gain insight into the newest happenings as well. Just as every book has a new edition, your class plan too must be constantly updated and changed in line with the current scientific progress, which is then integrated into classroom learning.

In a Nutshell

“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.”

Bernard Baruch

STEM learning is the next step in the global educational revolution, and having an excellent teacher to learn from and support us through our hurdles is just what we need to build a bright and promising future for the generation ahead.

Good teachers not only teach us, but teach themselves first, and are on a continuous journey of self-improvement. Choose well and do justice to their effort, time, and hard work – together we can pave the way ahead!