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What's Your Assessment of This STEAM Teacher? Now, Imagine the Impact of Scarcity of Resources.

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Science teachers often face resource scarcity in their classrooms. These issues arise due to several factors such as a lack of funding to the S.T.E.M. department, limited access to materials due to vendor restrictions, and the disproportionate cost associated with materials needed for science classes such as tools and instruments compared to other classes. A lack of funding is denoted as the primary reason for resource scarcity. Most schools and districts have limited budgets for S.T.E.M. education, making it challenging to provide teachers with the necessary resources to efficiently create engaging, practical, and effective lessons. The correlating response to a lack of funding is outdated textbooks, insufficient lab supplies, and limited access to technology for the teacher and the students.

In addition to funding, science teachers need considerably more access to materials and equipment throughout the school week to provide experimental based lessons to not only enhance the classroom environment but promote knowledge retention as well, which studies show improve with hands on application. The materials and equipment science teachers need throughout the school week increases when one also considers adaptive technologies and instruments needed to service students with cognitive and physical disabilities or special needs. Moreover, the S.T.E.M. field is constantly evolving, which leads to the rapid obsolescence of textbooks, scientific journals, and instruments needed to accurately perform scientific experiments. This can make it challenging for teachers to provide accurate and up-to-date information to their students if the school does not consider the additional budgeting item of S.T.E.M. Field Education Pedagogy Application Progress. Furthermore, it is important to note that a teacher’s inability to effectively create engaging content and interactive experiences in the classroom due to a lack of resources directly correlates to student motivation and interest, which is a contributing factor to why there is a lack of BIPOCs in S.T.E.M. education programs and careers.

As a result of resource scarcity, most science teachers have learned to adapt to a lack of funding and sufficient daily resources through creative and resourceful means to create engaging and practical lessons. This adaptation, which inadvertently impacts the classroom environment and lesson plans, warrants the need for increased advocacy and support from the school board, school administrators, parents, and the broader community to help address resource scarcity to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality science education. Furthermore, it is imperative to remember that S.T.E.M. resource scarcity does not only make it challenging for science teachers to provide high-quality science education to their students, but it is also a contributing factor to the lack of diversity in the S.T.E.M. field and the national employment skill gap making S.T.E.M. resource scarcity a national workforce development problem in terms of skillset and diversity, equity, and inclusion, which a lack of halts progress and innovation.

How Do We Address Resource Scarcity for Science Teachers?

Addressing resource scarcity for science teachers requires a multi-faceted approach involving collaboration, advocacy, and creative problem-solving amongst all involved and impacted. By working together, schools can provide high-quality science education to students, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. Some of the steps to help alleviate resource scarcity are:

Advocacy: Teachers, parents, and other stakeholders can advocate for increased funding for science education at the district, state, and national levels. This can ensure that schools have the resources to provide high-quality science education to all students.

Grant Writing: Teachers and schools can apply for grants through various organizations, including private foundations and government agencies. These grants can provide funding for new equipment, materials, technology, and professional development opportunities for teachers.

Donations: Schools can seek assistance from businesses, community organizations, and philanthropic individuals in and outside of their immediate communities. This can include donations of money, equipment, or other resources that can be used to support science education.

Collaboration: Science teachers can collaborate with other school departments to share resources and equipment. This can stretch limited resources further and provide more opportunities for students to constructively engage on the peer-to-peer level.

Innovative Teaching Strategies: Teachers can develop innovative teaching strategies that use readily available or low-cost resources. For example, teachers can incorporate online simulations or virtual labs in their lesson plans to supplement hands-on experiments.

Curriculum Updates: Schools can review and update their science curriculum bi-annually to ensure it is aligned with current scientific discoveries and technologies. This can ensure teachers have access to the most up-to-date materials and resources for teaching science.

Raise the roof!

Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

Think STEM Careers! You Have The Opportunity to Create The Future And The Privilege Of Deciding What's In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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