The classroom goes from quiet to buzzing with energy. Taylor Badeau smiles and greets students as they arrive for class. Students chat about everything, from the upcoming assignment to what is going on in their lives. Badeau makes a point of spending time with each student. Building relationships with students is what motivates him.
“Teaching is relational. If the kids don’t know you care, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, how good you are at delivering the lessons, it’s just not going to matter. I try to think about that every day when I come in.”
Badeau is the first UCCSTeach apprentice teacher completing his student teaching in a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) classroom at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs School District 11. He completed his semester by teaching principles of engineering and introduction to engineering design classes, which are engineering-focused courses, in addition to algebra classes. As the first graduate in a new STEM teaching degree program at UCCS, he is leading the way for other Engineering Education students to gain teaching experience in hands-on, project-based classrooms.
“What’s cool about engineering is I feel like I’m teaching them things that they will use. Whether or not they will be engineers, they are going to use the type of skills that we’re teaching them. These kids can do anything.”
Graduating in December, with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Education degree from UCCS, Badeau’s degree gives him a unique view into real-world applications of math and science curriculum, which he brings into the classroom. The degree prepares students for initial teacher licensure in Colorado in math and/or science and gives them a background in engineering and technology. Engineering Education is a multi-disciplinary degree from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Education, and the UCCSTeach program.
Being in a PLTW classroom completes a circle for Badeau. When he was at Air Academy High School, Badeau participated in PLTW courses, giving him an interest in engineering and education. In Coronado’s STEM classroom, Badeau appreciates the classroom as an experiential learning space for students. The classroom is large with work areas, tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, engineering supplies, and computers. He shares that having enough space to play is necessary for learning.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to introduce the kids to computer-aided design – we use [Autodesk] Inventor. To see their eyes light up when we go from sketching by hand and then take it to the computers and they realize the things that they can do. That’s fun.”
Badeau’s goals include getting his career and technical education certification, attending PLTW core training for teachers over the summer, and eventually obtaining a master’s degree. A future dream is to teach in a Spanish-speaking country for a year. He has accepted a job starting in January at Doherty High School teaching math with opportunities for PLTW classes to be added to his schedule in coming semesters.
To find out more about the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Education degree, go to www.uccs.edu/teachingstem.