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FAQ

Do you have questions about the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Fellowship or the application process? Below are answers to many frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t listed below, please contact us at teachers@kstf.org and someone will reply to your email within 48 hours.

APPLICATION QUESTIONS

Who is eligible to apply for a Teaching Fellowship?

KSTF Teaching Fellowships are intended to support beginning high school STEM teachers in the United States. Fellows are chosen from among individuals who:

  • Are committed to teaching a STEM subject (e.g., science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics) in the U.S., in grades 9-12;
  • Have earned, or will have earned by September 2015, a degree in a discipline related to the STEM subject(s) they intend to teach;
  • Have outstanding current content knowledge with recent formal education in the STEM subject(s) they intend to teach (typically within the last 5–10 years);
  • Have the capacity and determination to commit to teaching as their career;
  • Will have a valid state teaching credential/certificate/license that enables them to teach grades 9-12 in the United States by September 1, 2015, that was not awarded before January 1, 2010; and
  • Have no more than 1 year of teaching experience (as the teacher of record) as of September 1, 2015.

If you unsure about your eligibility after reading the selection criteria, please contact us at apply@kstf.org with questions. 

What type of person is a good candidate for a KSTF Teaching Fellowship?

The ideal candidate has a strong background in STEM, and is committed to teaching STEM related subjects to high school students in the United States.  This Fellowship is not intended to support individuals who are pursuing teaching on a temporary basis, or as a stepping stone to another 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. Please refer to the criteria portion of our website for details.

Is the Fellowship need-based?

KSTF Teaching Fellowships are NOT awarded based on need (financial or otherwise), but rather on ability and promise.

What if I want to teach both math and science? Can I apply?

Prospective applicants interested in teaching both math and science can apply. KSTF Fellows become part of a cohort of teachers focused on developing pedagogical and content knowledge in STEM fields. During the application process, though, applicants will be evaluated in part on their knowledge of the content area they choose, and their reasons for choosing to teach that subject. As such, it is strongly recommended that applicants choose the content area that most closely aligns with their disciplinary strengths.

Do you only accept recent college graduates?

We seek candidates who have current content knowledge relevant to the disciplines they intend to teach and have the capacity and determination to commit to teaching as their career.

 

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 apply@kstf.org if this question applies to you.

How does the selection process work?

The selection process begins with the submission of an application and all required supplemental materials. All qualified applicants will be invited to participate in a telephone interview, which will take place in late January 2015. Finalists will be invited to participate in a personal, face-to-face interview that will be conducted in the greater Philadelphia, PA area in March 2015 (all travel expenses to and from the interview are covered by KSTF). For more information, please reference the timeline section of our website.

Can I defer my acceptance?

No. If you are unable to accept a teaching fellowship for any reason, you must reapply the following year.

TEACHING FELLOWSHIP QUESTIONS

What are the responsibilities of a KSTF Teaching Fellow?

As part of the five-year Teaching Fellowship, KSTF Teaching Fellows are required to: obtain a full-time high-school STEM teaching position, participate in the KSTF community and adhere to KSTF policy guidelines.  Fellowship responsibilities will typically require a time commitment of 4-6 hours per month, over and above the time spent in in-person meetings and preparing proposals to submit for benefits.

What are the financial benefits of becoming a Teaching Fellow?

Teaching Fellows receive a summer stipend and are eligible for a number of grants throughout the year. Professional development grants valued at up to $4,000 per year are available to cover the cost of relevant activities, including workshops, mentoring, practitioner inquiry and Fellow observations. Fellows are also eligible to receive up to $1,200 per year for teaching materials. Last, Fellows can apply for leadership grants to pursue efforts that will have a positive impact on STEM education beyond their own classroom. For more detailed information, please visit the Fellowship section of our website.

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 is designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers by providing the support and resources needed to help them develop into outstanding professional teachers who can become leaders and change agents in the field of education.

Do I have to commit to teaching for five years?

The Fellowship is designed for individuals who recognize that teaching is 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, are taking a break from another career or wish to remain employed while seeking work in other fields. If you are not committed to teaching for at least five years, this Fellowship is not for you.

What type of training and support do I receive as a KSTF Teaching Fellow?

Aside from receiving financial support, Teaching Fellows are part of a network of like-minded individuals who share a dedication to STEM 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 are exposed to a variety of resources, curriculum materials, research, and experts in the field.

What is a typical 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. Teaching 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.

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.

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 a subject related to STEM. 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.

What if I do not find a full-time teaching position after I am credentialed?

Once you are credentialed, you will 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.

What happens when the Fellowship ends after five years?

After completing the fifth year of the Fellowship, Teaching Fellows transition to Senior Fellow status. Senior Fellows are encouraged to remain involved with KSTF in a number of ways, including designing and implementing professional development for KSTF Fellows, attending KSTF meetings and continuing to participate in our online community. Senior Fellows are eligible to receive support while pursuing National Board Certification. Additionally, they are eligible to receive leadership grants that support activities that impact education beyond a teacher’s own classroom. The Senior Fellows Program regularly communicates with Senior Fellows and will suggest ways that they can continue to collaborate with the organization. As the number of Senior Fellows increases, the KSTF Senior Fellows Program will continue to develop and grow.