Rachel Pittman is a physics alumna from Cal Poly Pomona who graduated in 2006. She was a physics teacher and is currently a K-12 administrator. Rachel is currently pursuing a PhD in Education with an emphasis is Educational Policy, Evaluation and Reform.
“The Physics Department at Cal Poly Pomona was certainly my font of inspiration for choosing teaching as a profession. The professors are awe-inspiring; not only due to their incredible knowledge base, but also because they played valuable mentorship roles for the students in my graduating class. I found physics to be the hardest subject I had ever tackled and I realized it would have been impossible to get through without their guidance, so I decided to help others who were interested in advanced science degrees. My teaching career began as a private tutor, which I did while taking undergraduate coursework. Those years were perhaps some of the most valuable I’ve experienced because I learned to master catering content to meet a students' individual needs. That certainly carried itself to the classroom where I crafted curriculum for a larger audience.
As a high school teacher, I was privileged to be a part of the community of physics educators from the greater Los Angeles area. I frequently attended physics-teaching seminars and these educator coalitions directly contribute to my pedagogy; it was an empowering experience to play a role in what public education should look like through modeling best practices in high school-level STEM curriculum. Incorporating inquiry-based instructional methods and relevant, up-to-date problem solving is key in teaching students to master any branch of science.
My career has allowed me to make meaningful changes at school sites, and these changes have directly translated into growth in the community. Not only do I frequently team up with administrators, faculty, and staff to create and implement policy, but my experience infusing schools with funding through grantsmanship has allowed me to bring high-tech equipment into the hands of students so that they can achieve learning goals far beyond their expectations. With federally mandated policy impacting education at such a large scale, it's a really exciting time to be involved in this field. The academic gains of students and interpersonal relationships that come easily in this line of work make it a pleasure to be part of a community with such strong character."
Updated January 2017