A member of the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC) was recently given a prominent feature in the UCLA Magazine. Juliana Jones, a mathematics teacher at Montera Middle School in Oakland and member of Cal TAC since 2005, was invited to contribute a feature on how students, new teachers and working professionals in other fields with comparable skills can carve out a career teaching math and science.
“The UCLA Magazine has a broad audience and is well-suited to raise awareness about the professionalism of teaching,” said Jones. “We need gifted learners of all kinds to be teachers, not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because it is a viable, challenging, stimulating profession with amazing opportunities.”
In the article, “Those Who Can, Teach,” Jones offers advice both to those contemplating a teaching career and to those already in the classroom. She stresses the importance of finding mentors and continuing to develop content knowledge throughout a teacher’s career. “There are many opportunities for ambitious, passionate, gifted mathematics and science teachers, but you must seek them out,” she says in the article.
Communicating with a broader public about the opportunities and challenges facing science and math teachers is an integral part of Cal TAC’s mission. Cal TAC, a state-level organization modeled after the National Academies’ Teacher Advisory Council, provides a valuable and previous absent connection between the teaching community and the educational experts and policymakers who shape California’s educational system. It is a joint project between CCST and the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.
“My experience in Cal TAC has been profound,” said Jones. “It gives me the opportunity to rise above the daily challenges of teaching and look globally at the ways education and policy are related, to share my voice about the reality of what is going on in my classroom every day, and to feel valued as a professional outside the classroom.”
Cal TAC members have provided important input into the recently completed CCST project, Critical Path Analysis of California’s Science and Math Teacher Preparation System. In addition, Jones participated in the Education Task Force on Shaping the Future: California’s Response to “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”.
“The task force benefited significantly from having a teacher in the room to provide a reality check on our discussions,” said Task Force Chair John Bryson, Chairman, CEO & President of Edison International. “[Juliana] demonstrated the value of including people from the ‘front lines’ of our science and math education system in education policy discussions.”
Jones hopes that the article in the UCLA Magazine may lead to other opportunities for Cal TAC members to connect with a wider audience.
“The teacher’s voice is missing in so many education policy arenas,” said Jones. “Cal TAC elevates the wisdom of experienced, accomplished teachers and creates opportunities for our voices to be heard and to make a difference.”