Guide to High School Physics Teacher Preparation

Version 1. January 28, 2021

This section provides guidelines and recommendations for physics departments and programs seeking to implement, document, publicize, and support pathways to recruit and educate future high school teachers. Implementing an effective teacher preparation program includes creating an environment within your department that promotes high school teaching as a valid and desirable career option. For guidance on offering a physics or physical science course tailored to the needs of elementary education majors, see the section on Courses for Non-STEM Majors.


Creating an effective high school teacher preparation program expands the range of careers for which your department or program prepares students to include high school teaching, a profession in which physics majors have near-certain employment prospects upon graduation. Additional benefits for your department may include improving recruiting and retention, increasing graduation rates, gaining eligibility for funding opportunities, improving learning for undergraduate students within and outside the major, and attracting more well-prepared students from area high schools.

Effective Practices

  1. Identify and support faculty champions to lead the development and maintenance of a teacher preparation program

  2. Evaluate the local landscape with respect to teacher preparation

  3. Implement a teacher preparation pathway

  4. Provide students opportunities to learn physics in ways teachers are expected to teach

  5. Provide early teaching experiences for students interested in teaching as a career

  6. Communicate the value of teaching as a career path

  7. Promote the teacher preparation program and actively recruit students

Programmatic Assessments

The Cycle of Reflection and Action

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1738311, 1747563, and 1821372. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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