1. What type of person is a good candidate for a KSTF Teaching Fellowship?
KSTF Teaching Fellows are individuals with a strong background in mathematics or science who demonstrate a commitment to teaching high school science and mathematics in the United States. The fellowship is not intended to support individuals who are pursuing teaching on a temporary basis, as a stepping stone to another career or as a second career. An ideal candidate can demonstrate leadership and achievement in past endeavors, has experience with adolescents and/or teaching, and can articulate his/her motivation for becoming a teacher. (See criteria.)
2. Is the fellowship need-based?
KSTF Teaching Fellowships are NOT awarded based on need (financial or otherwise), but rather on ability and promise.
3. Why is this a five-year program?
KSTF recognizes that teaching is a highly complex and challenging endeavor that takes time and effort to learn to do well. The fellowship program is designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers and provide the support and resources needed to develop into outstanding professional teachers who can become leaders and change agents in the field of education.
4. Do I have to commit to teaching for five years?
The fellowship is designed for individuals who recognize teaching as an intellectually demanding profession and are committed to being leaders and change agents in education. By contrast, the KSTF Teaching Fellowship is not intended for individuals who are pursuing teaching as a way to strengthen a resume, take a break from another career or remain employed while seeking other work in other fields. If you are not committed to teaching for at least five years, this fellowship is not for you.
5. Who is eligible to apply for a Teaching Fellowship?
KSTF Science and Mathematics Teaching Fellows are chosen from among individuals who have earned or are in the process of earning a degree in a discipline related to the science or math subject(s) they intend to teach. Fellowships are intended for individuals committed to teaching high school mathematics, physical sciences or biological sciences.
KSTF is seeking individuals who have outstanding and current content knowledge; thus applicants should have a recent content degree (typically within the last 5-10 years). We are also seeking candidates who have the capacity and determination to commit to teaching as their primary career; the fellowship is not intended for those who have previously established a career (typically more than 5-10 years) in another field.
The KSTF Teaching Fellowship is intended to support beginning high school science and math teachers, that is, individuals who have recently earned a secondary teaching credential or will earn their credential no later than September 1, 2014. Individuals who have earned a secondary teaching credential prior to January 1, 2012 are not eligible to apply. (See eligibility).
6. What if I want to teach both math and science? Can I apply to both programs?
Applicants may only apply for one fellowship in an application cycle and must choose either mathematics, physical science or biology. Applicants will be evaluated in part on their content knowledge in the area they choose and their reasons for choosing to teach that subject. Additionally, fellows become part of a cohort of teachers focused on developing pedagogical and content knowledge in a specific discipline. So it is strongly recommended that applicants choose the program that most closely aligns with their own disciplinary strengths and the subject they can commit to teaching for at least half a day.
7. Am I eligible if I am not a U.S. citizen, or if my bachelor's degree is not from a college or university in the United States?
Individuals who are not citizens or who hold degrees from outside the United States are eligible for the Teaching Fellowship. However, they must be committed to teaching science or mathematics in U.S. high schools.
8. Do you only accept recent college graduates?
The fellowship is not intended for individuals who have long-established careers in other fields and are considering a career change to teaching. We seek candidates who have current content knowledge relevant to the disciplines they intend to teach.
9. Am I eligible if I have no previous teaching experience or prior coursework in education?
Yes. Individuals with no formal education coursework or experience in teaching are encouraged to apply. The Fellowship is intended to support individuals with strong mathematics or science backgrounds who are early in their careers as they enter the teaching profession.
10. What if I am already teaching?
New teachers who have earned a certification after January 1, 2012, are eligible to apply. KSTF offers tuition assistance for coursework leading to certification, even for teachers who are studying part-time. However, only full-time students receive a monthly stipend.
11. What if I have already started a teacher education program?
Individuals currently enrolled in a teacher education program recognized by the U.S. Department of Education are eligible to apply. However, fellowships can only be awarded to individuals who were certified after January 1, 2012 or will be certified no later than September 1, 2014.
12. What if I already have my teaching certificate?
Teachers who have been certified in another subject or for grades other than 9-12 may be eligible to apply, recognizing that the fellowship is intended for beginning teachers only (typically less than 2 years of experience). We highly recommend that you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if this applies to you.
13. Why aren't certified teachers eligible to apply?
KSTF Teaching Fellowships are designed to support highly qualified individuals as they begin their careers as teachers. KSTF offers tuition assistance for a master's degree if it is earned in conjunction with a teaching credential; however, the fellowship is not intended for graduate work beyond certification. There are other funding sources available for certified teachers who wish to earn a master's degree.
14. What if I have been teaching under an emergency certification?
Teachers working under emergency certification for less than 2 years, or teaching without a certification at a private school, who wish to earn their full teaching credential are eligible to apply.
15. How does the selection process work?
The selection process has three phases. Online application materials, letters of recommendation and transcripts are reviewed first by KSTF staff. Qualified applicants who meet the selection criteria are invited to participate in a telephone interview conducted by a KSTF teacher developer. From the telephone interviews, finalists are selected to participate in personal, face-to-face interviews in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a panel of experts in science or mathematics education. Finalist interviews are conducted in March, and all travel expenses to and from the interview are covered by KSTF (see the complete selection timeline).
16. When will I know if I've been accepted?
Fellowship awardees are announced in April each year, and successful candidates must be available for an orientation meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, held over the first weekend in June.
17. Can I defer my acceptance?
No. If you are unable to accept a teaching fellowship for any reason, you must reapply the following year.
18. What are the responsibilities of a KSTF Teaching Fellow?
The fellowship is renewable for up to five years, contingent upon fulfilling certain requirements. These requirements include: successfully completing a teacher credential program, obtaining a full-time teaching position within the area of certification, participating in the KSTF Community and adhering to KSTF policy guidelines. Fellowship responsibilities will typically involve 4-6 hours of time each month, over and above in-person meetings and submitting proposals for benefits.
19. What are the benefits of becoming a teaching fellow?
Teaching fellows receive both financial and professional support for up to five years while enrolled in a teacher credential program and during the first few years of teaching. Additional details of the fellowship program can be found here.
20. How does KSTF support me financially?
In the past, fellows who were full-time students received up to $18,000 in annual tuition assistance and a monthly stipend while they were working toward a teaching credential. Full-time teachers are eligible for small grants supplying classroom materials and support for a mentor-teacher relationship. All fellows receive funding for external professional development throughout the year and stipends during the summer months. (See Fellowship Experience).
21. How am I trained and supported?
Aside from receiving financial support, teaching fellows are part of a network of like-minded individuals who share a dedication to science and mathematics education, and are grappling with the same issues of teacher preparation and professional growth. Throughout the year, fellows participate in the KSTF community via online workspaces. At Fall, Spring and Summer Fellows' Meetings, fellows develop into a community of scholars of high school science and mathematics teaching, and are exposed to a variety of resources, curriculum materials, research, and experts in the field.
22. What is a typical summer professional development activity?
KSTF assumes that teaching fellows, striving to become professional teachers, will engage in a program of ongoing professional development even after completing a teacher credential program. Fellows may choose to take coursework at a college or university, attend a workshop for teachers, engage in a research project, or participate in an internship. Professional development activities depend on an individual's interests and needs and will look different for each fellow.
23. Where are your teaching fellows located?
KSTF Teaching Fellows are spread throughout the country and are currently located in 35 different states.
24. Can I change locations/schools during my five-year commitment?
You do not have to remain in the same location for all five years of the fellowship. Many of our fellows have changed locations between completing a teacher education program and beginning their teaching jobs, or even from one year of teaching to the next. However, you must continue to teach in a U.S. high school.
25. Is the KSTF Teaching Fellowship a teacher preparation program that will result in a teaching credential?
No. The fellowship is a professional development and support program for beginning teachers but it does not provide a teaching credential. Fellows are expected to participate in a recognized teacher preparation program that leads to a teaching license in the state he or she wishes to teach in.
26. Do I need to be admitted into a credential program before I apply for a teaching fellowship?
You do not need to be admitted into a program in order to apply for a KSTF Teaching Fellowship. However, you must be admitted to a program that will lead to a credential before September 1, 2014 before you can be awarded the fellowship. This means that you may need to apply for both the fellowship and a teacher credential program at the same time if you are not already enrolled.
27. Do you have requirements as to the type/location of the teaching program?
Fellows can participate in any teacher education program at a university or college recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or by the appropriate regional accrediting agency (such as the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges in the Midwest). The credential program may include an MAT, an MEd or other degree, or may be a non-degree credential program. We do not have a list of "approved" programs, but it must be one that leads to a state teaching license and has a significant emphasis on secondary education and on mathematics or science. Participation in a well organized, content-focused teacher preparation program is a crucial aspect of the KSTF experience. Before any fellowships are awarded candidates will be expected to document the ways in which their teacher education program meets the following criteria:
- Course work and field work that is focused on the teaching and learning of mathematics or science
- Course work and field work that enhances knowledge of how diverse adolescents learn mathematics or science and the activities that encourage such learning
- Opportunities to reflect, formally and informally, on one's own teaching and how it is connected to students' learning
28. Is KSTF affiliated with any teacher education programs?
KSTF is not affiliated with particular credentialing programs, but does reserve the right to withhold awards from fellows who choose to participate in credentialing programs that do not meet KSTF’s criteria. For assistance in choosing a teacher education program, contact the career office at your undergraduate institution, or your state's Department of Education.
29. After I complete my credential program, am I responsible for finding my own teaching position?
Fellows are expected to procure their own full-time teaching positions once credentialed. Often, your teacher education program will offer guidance in this process.
30. Can I teach at any school I want?
Fellows can teach at any U.S. high school—public, private, charter or parochial; urban, rural, or suburban—as long as they teach within the subject area of their certification. American schools abroad, high schools in U.S. territories and Department of Defense schools abroad are not considered U.S. high schools for the purpose of the KSTF Teaching Fellowship.
31. What if I do not find a full-time teaching position after I am credentialed?
Once you are credentialed, you forfeit the fellowship if you are not teaching full-time. However, KSTF will consider a fellowship suspended for up to one year if you are actively searching for a teaching position and engaging in another appropriate activity in the teaching field, such as working as a substitute teacher or taking additional coursework.
32. What happens when the fellowship ends after five years?
KSTF alumni may choose to remain involved with KSTF in a number of ways, including designing and implementing professional development for KSTF fellows or serving as resource teachers at KSTF summer meeting. Alumni are also eligible for support to pursue National Board Certification and for leadership grants that support activities that impact education beyond a teacher’s own classroom. The alumni program regularly communicates with KSTF alumni and will provide ways that alumni can continue to collaborate through meetings and in an on line community. As the number of alumni increases, the KSTF alumni program will continue to develop and grow.