Great educators have great stories. This series gives a glimpse of the ideas, practices, and experiences of the recipients of the NEA Foundation’s California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence. Today, we’re sharing the words of Joshua Bearden, a 5th grade educator at Northside Elementary School in Cedartown, GA.
I have been teaching at my school for 12 years. Five years ago, I developed a goal of seeing my small-town, Title I school become STEM certified.
As one aspect of this process, in 2014, I created the first after-school science club. The club started out with only 20 third-grade students and now is made up of 60 third- through fifth-grade students.
These students get involved in their own learning through participating in Science Olympiad and robotics teams. Being a member of this club gives students the opportunity to help teach each other coding, programming, teamwork, and engineering design process. I help facilitate the program as the lead coach, but the students do all the core work on their own and as a team each week.
The success of this program has led other schools in my districts to reach out to me and ask about developing their own programs. The science club is creating an exciting new learning culture at my school.