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Jacob Goodman is an innovative UIndy Education alum

“Teaching was the first thing I ever said I wanted to do when I was a kid. I think I was in second grade when I came home and jacob goodman headshottold my mom I wanted to be a math teacher—I was good at math and I liked helping other kids.”

Jacob Goodman studied math and Russian in his undergraduate years. After graduating he explored his options, working first as an accountant, then managing a health food store, and working as a restaurant cook. Then he decided to pursue that “teaching thing” he called out as his passion back in second grade.

Jacob turned to UIndy to get him prepared to lead in the classroom. The Teach (STEM)³ program gives science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree-holders the tools and preparation they need to become effective middle school and secondary STEM teachers.

Now a math teacher at Hoosier Academy – Indianapolis, Jacob shares what makes the clinical STEM teaching program at UIndy unique.

Project-Based Learning

“Math can often be kind of ‘drill and kill,'” Jacob says. “UIndy is about getting you out of that mentality, having the kids ask questions and learn more intuitively, using 21st century skills in the classroom.”

Teach (STEM)³ emphasizes project-based learning (PBL). Jacob describes the core of PBL as students leading their own learning. The teacher poses a question or presents a a problem in the community and the students solve the issue–while still learning the state standards. Jacob acknowledges there is a learning curve in framing your teaching philosophy in the light of PBL–but Assistant Professor Jean Lee “is probably one of the best people to help you do that.”

Jacob designed a PBL based around a parabolic solar cooker. “The kids did a lot of research, learned about all kinds of different conic sections like parabolas, hyperbolas, ellipses, and came up with a design,” Jacob says. “We ended up with a fully functioning solar cooker.” The school had an event on Earth Day for parents to come and eat lunch cooked by their children’s project.

“My favorite part of PBL is it gives you the opportunity to bring up topics that aren’t traditional in a math class, which can be pretty powerful in getting kids to pay attention,” Jacob says.

Using Technology in Teaching

Teach (STEM)³ is innovative and forward-looking, which means UIndy graduates are prepared to integrate technology in their teaching practice at a very high level.

“They made sure that if it was your style to use technology in the classroom, you had an arsenal of resources,” Jacob says. “I love the tech stuff and that’s where I got my highest points on projects throughout the program.”

Jacob sees technology as vital to being an effective teacher in 2016. “It’s not how anyone 22 and older went through school, but it is the way you do need to teach once you get out there in the profession right now.”

Time in a K-12 Classroom

When asked what the biggest difference is between a program like this and a traditional undergraduate education, Jacob calls out the time he was able to spend in front of K-12 students.

“I probably had double or triple the amount of classroom time  in a real school—so that was unbelievably advantageous.”

“If you’re looking to shake things up, if you have ideas or have a critical eye and want to help get our education system in line, the program definitely puts you in a position to do that,”Jacob says. ‘You won’t be treated like the average first year teacher. People will definitely ask what you think and ask for your help to get things done.”

Contact Whitnie Shay at 317.788.2004 or shayw@uindy.edu to learn more.