The American Meteorological Society has been educating teachers on weather, ocean, and climate science for 30 years, but now those teachers can distinguish themselves from others by becoming a Certified American Meteorological Society Teacher (CAT). The certification is meant to recognize teachers that are doing more; but even if they don’t want to be certified, the courses are still open to any teacher.
“Anyone is free to take any one or multiple of those five courses we offer, and it is you self select to decide that it’s important to you to distinguish yourself and that you’d like to go through an application process to become a certified teacher. The only requirement is that you’ve taken two of our courses,” says AMS Education Program Director, Wendy Abshire.
The courses are offered online by California University of Pennsylvania and the only costs are for the fees and materials for each course.
Abshire says, “We just want to empower teachers to have the language, the skills to confidently introduce weather ocean and climate science whichever is most appropriate for them or all of the above into whatever they’re teaching.”
The instructors say they want everyone to be successful, that’s why teachers are paired with a mentor to support them throughout the experience. You also don’t have to be a science teacher to teach weather, ocean, and climate science. These courses are applicable to all subjects, whether it’s language arts, history, or actually science.
“Any teacher, literally, whether you’re a kindergarten teacher or an AP physics teacher, it doesn’t matter we teach you the same way as a professional,” said Abshire.
The AMS teacher program offers five courses. Three are through the DataStreme program during each spring and fall. Two are limited-capacity summer courses that include a trip to do more hands-on learning in the fields of oceanography and meteorology.
“The summer courses because they have full grant support funding. The cost is only $150, of course for those teachers, and you actually, that just pays the basic fees for the online credits. And we, the grant funding and the stipend, or actually more than that school teacher comes out ahead financially, which is another part of why those are so competitive,” says Abshire.
So if you are a teacher, this program is for you. Who knows, you may just inspire the next generation of scientists.
If you would like to learn more about the program visit ametsoc.org/cat or reach out to Meteorologist Amber Alexander (firstname.lastname@example.org), who would love to help you.