Attracting And Retaining Educators With STEM: The Key to a Revitalized Workforce

Attracting And Retaining Educators With STEM: The Key to a Revitalized Workforce

Teaching is a profession that attracts passionate individuals who find fulfillment in guiding future generations. However, according to NORC at the University of Chicago, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans would recommend pursuing a career in K-12 education. This highlights the need for innovative solutions to address recruitment and retention concerns.

Fortunately, STEM education offers powerful tools to support educators and reignite a passion for the profession. By offering engaging STEM programs with multi-subject integration and PD opportunities, districts can address recruitment and retention concerns in a powerful way, improving the experience for both educators and students!

STEM Education to the Rescue!

Teaching should be invigorating, but growing workloads, restrictions and requirements have left many educators feeling overwhelmed. According to the National Education Association, 90% of educators reported stress and burnout as serious issues. That's where STEM education can help.

5 Ways STEM Sustains Educators’ Enthusiasm

1. STEM improves teaching conditions:

Access to technology and supplies influences the ability to provide top-notch instruction. Quality STEM programs equip facilitators with everything they need to feel successful and take the stress of corralling resources off their plates.

For example, Cosmic Coders for grades 4-8 includes everything from robot technology down to the pencils learners use to record their STEM space explorations. In all complete programs, PCS Edventures provides educators with everything needed to manage a stress-free STEM curriculum.

2. STEM supports a culture of engaging, hands-on learning:

Incorporating interactive learning experiences combats burnout and ignites a passion for teaching. Simply put, it’s way more fun for everyone involved!

Learners thrive on making discoveries when they dig into STEM concepts (sometimes quite literally, as with Dirt Camp). Hands-on learning empowers them to lead the way in their pursuit of knowledge, freeing educators to facilitate the process through thought-provoking conversations.

This collaborative approach to STEM transforms classroom instruction, strengthening classroom communities while taking a bit of pressure off educators.

3. STEM fosters autonomy and creativity:

Interdisciplinary STEM instruction allows educators to teach many subjects within a unit. By establishing meaningful connections across disciplines, they can efficiently address multiple standards and help learners better understand each concept’s greater purpose in the real world.

STEM optimizes instructional time. Our ready-made programs make implementing creative, connected lesson plans simple, enhancing the learning experience for students and motivating educators.

4. STEM promotes real-world connections:

By demonstrating the practical applications of STEM concepts in everyday life, educators can instill a deeper appreciation for a subject matter and foster a sense of purpose in their teaching.

For example, drones. They are amazing! Educators might wonder why they should consider teaching with drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a rapidly developing technology. Our drone collection showcases the current applications of drones across various industries and imparts the skills necessary for success in those fields.

Such real-world connections within STEM education make learning more relevant and meaningful for both educators and learners.

5. STEM increases opportunities for professional growth:

STEM education offers many avenues for professional development. When crafting programming, our experienced development team of educators and curriculum specialists prioritizes excellent pedagogy. We aim to foster learning environments that maximize understanding and skill development through innovative teaching methods. We even offer free webinar orientation and additional training with purchase to ensure educators can confidently use our units in their learning environments.

With PCS Edventures, educators can continuously enhance their teaching methods, stay motivated and expand their knowledge base, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and sustainable career in education.

STEM as a Recruitment Tool

Prospective educators are eager to make a meaningful impact while maintaining an interest in their day-to-day responsibilities. It’s a tall order, but as the ultimate recruitment tool for school districts seeking motivated educators, STEM makes it possible.

Looking to recruit new talent?

Try sharing these strategies to highlight the benefits of working in STEM education.

Share your program’s commitment to innovation and technology.

Educators and learners benefit greatly from keeping up with the latest tech. It’s an exciting way to practice key skills and become familiar with the technology used across disciplines, both of which are essential to preparing learners to enter future job markets. That’s why we’re constantly developing new programs like these to ensure learning remains relevant:

Cubelets BOT Builder-PCS

Learners in grades 1-3 team up to build fully functional robots in Cubletes BOT Builder! This hands-on tech is an exciting way to inspire tomorrow’s engineers, from tinkering with sensors to programming collision avoidance.

Cosmic Coders, grades 4-8

Crew members in grades 4-8 embark on an exciting Cosmic Coders adventure! With the mBot, they’ll design an interplanetary city while sharpening their coding and collaboration skills.

Social media influencers use tech to build their brands, and now 6th-12th graders can too! Grab your cameras and master the skills to craft an online presence responsibly and creatively with Influencer Camp.

Highlight the professional development opportunities.

Few PD workshops are more engaging than hands-on STEM training. Educators collaborate with peers and explore new teaching methods firsthand. Such opportunities are a great way to attract top talent keen on growing their skills. Check out what one educator shared about her STEM professional development experience on X:

Encourage collaboration among educators across classrooms.

STEM subjects are not meant to be taught in isolation. Demonstrating how educators’ work reaches beyond their learning environment is key to attracting employees who value working with a team, a support often missing from many educational settings.

Have you heard of SMart Engineering? It’s the idea that science (S), math (M), and the arts (A) share many characteristics, such as their emphasis on exploration, experimentation and making discoveries. This suggests educators from different disciplines can collaborate and leverage subjects’ interconnectedness. While fostering cross-curricular learning among students, it also promotes a much-needed sense of community among educators.

Provide educators with support from a STEM mentor or coach.

Sometimes even more valuable than being part of a team is having a trusted mentor or coach. Individualized support from a colleague without the pressure of evaluations gives educators the space to ask questions, try new things and self-reflect.

How can mentors best support STEM educators?

  • Provide emotional support.
  • Explore new teaching and management strategies.
  • Celebrate successes.
  • Ask thought-provoking questions.
  • Ease any transitions into new roles.
  • Offer feedback and resources that enhance instruction.

Share the NoteWorthy Anecdotal Records Kit: A Valuable Tool For Educators with coaches as a free resource to assist educators in planning student-driven STEM instruction.

Retaining Talent with STEM:

Retaining educators is essential to maintaining a well-rounded program. Novice or veteran, every experience level offers something unique to STEM programs. And as every STEMist knows, innovation and success can come from anyone at any age!

How can administrators boost educators' motivation and overall experience through STEM initiatives?

  • Regularly acknowledge and reward educators' contributions and innovations.
  • Demonstrate how STEM can increase educators’ engagement and job satisfaction.
  • Provide ongoing professional development in STEM that leads to career advancement.
  • Share success stories of educators who found renewed passion and purpose through STEM.
  • Welcome STEM professionals looking to enter education. They offer invaluable industry knowledge!

Supporting educators should be among a program’s top priorities. Comprehensive STEM programming provides the necessary resources to help educators confidently deliver quality instruction.

STEM instruction also keeps things fresh! PCS Edventures’ programs include suggested lesson extensions that keep content exciting and relevant to learners and educators year after year.

The Future of Education with STEM:

The key to Future-Proofing Education is STEM. By implementing the right technological skills and STEM experiences into your programming, learners are better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly evolving workforce.

But curriculum shifts aren’t always enough. Attracting and retaining talented educators is crucial to ensuring learners get the most out of each learning experience.

School districts and administrators that prioritize STEM solutions create a dynamic, supportive and rewarding environment for educators.

In this way, we can strengthen today’s workforce while preparing tomorrow’s. Educators deserve it.

Have you seen success stories of STEM education revitalizing educators' passion? We'd love to hear from you! Tell us in the comments below.

Author: Jessica Ventre

An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.

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GBAO. (2022). Poll results: Stress and burnout pose threat of educator shortages. NEA Member COVID-19 Survey Summary. 

NORC at the University of Chicago. (2022, Sept. 8). Few Americans would encourage a young person to become a teacher | NORC at the University of Chicago. The Nonpartisan and Objective Research Organization NORC at the University of Chicago.