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2003/2004 TEA Responsibilities

TEA Responsibilities and Guidelines

These guidelines reflect the requirements by the National Science Foundation and are framed based on the input of TEAs who have been in the field and have first-hand knowledge of what defines a successful TEA experience.

1) Research and the TEA
First Steps

  • Read through the TEA Web site to become familiar with field experiences, expectations, conditions, materials, other resources, etc. The "TEA's Only" site contains evaluations and meeting reports that may be helpful in preparation. The site can be accessed through the splash page on the Web site. Login: tea, Password: tea.

  • Communicate with your TEA colleagues (after TEA orientation) if you have questions or need more information.

  • Learn about the polar regions as you will be asked many general questions that do not relate to your specific research topic. You can start giving talks about the Program and polar regions prior to being matched with a research team.

  • Contact your Principal Investigator (PI) by e-mail or letter and let them know who you are and that you will be working with them. Provide a little background - what you teach, your interests, why you want to work with them, etc. Send your TEA application materials. Send a picture. Note: Arctic assignments are made in late fall and Antarctic assignments may happen as late as spring of the following year.

  • Request a copy of the proposal content for the research that is to be conducted. Request that the PI send or identify selected arcticles that may help your understanding of, and parcticipation in, the project. Ask for introductory material too! READ THESE BEFORE YOU VISIT!

  • With your PI, determine a time that is convenient for them for you to visit their institution, learn about the research, and meet the other members of the team.


When You Visit the PI

  • Discuss the research project with your PI or other members of the team. Strive to understand the research project at all scales. Why is the research important? How does it connect with the global picture? Let them know that you want to be involved in the research experience!

  • Tell your PI why you applied to the Program. Ask why the PI requested a TEA as a member of the research team.

  • Discuss what makes a positive/successful research experience. What does the research team expect of the TEA? What does the TEA expect of the research experience? How does the team approach work? Discuss the role of positive attitude, respect, and consideration for the time and resources for others. What are the parcticular dangers and challenges? What are the living and working conditions? How long are the hours? Listen, learn, implement.

  • Meet the other members of the research team. Determine with whom you will be working closely and who will act as your research mentor - it may not be the PI. Establish communications.

  • Identify the role that you will have in the field. Practicethe role if possible. Determine what you need to fulfill this role. Ask about physical demands.

  • Help your PI define a project or portion of the project for which you will be responsible. This may be an offshoot of the PI's project, or it may be an experiment that the two of you define. Keep in mind that you may be able to tie your experiment to experiments that the students can conduct in parallel in the classroom environment. Remember, also to be cognizant of the time and resources required to conduct field research; do not plan to have much of either at your disposal!

  • Clarify if medical and dental examinations are required and what paperwork is necessary. Unless otherwise arranged by the PI, you will be responsible for completing forms and sending them to the proper individuals.

  • With your PI, identify any samples that you may desire for the classroom. Fill out the appropriate paperwork for permits, etc. (if necessary) that will enable you to bring the samples back to your classroom legally.

  • Determine if other permits (e.g., for computers, cameras, etc.) or passports and/or travel visas are required. Clarify who will file requests for these permits.

  • Discuss if there are any field restrictionsin terms of where you can go, types of images you can acquire, content of your journals, access to phones for RealAudio, etc.

  • Tell your entire research team about the goals of the TEA Program and your responsibilities to the TEA Program (perhaps through a presentation to the group). You will be doing double-duty - acting as a research team member and conveying the experience to classrooms everywhere on the Internet. Make it clear that you will need some time each day to write your journal and answer student questions in addition to your research responsibilities. Demonstrate the TEA Web site . Your parcticipation offers a wonderful opportunity to have the research in the spotlight!

  • Send some journal entries about your preparation to be posted on the Web. Share these with your research team.

  • Discuss with your PI opportunities for you to provide specified data to classrooms. What data are available (e.g., routinely collected weather data, oceanographic data, perhaps data collected for this research project)? This may be a sensitive issue - many of the data are proprietary.

  • With your researcher, define the approximate number and size of electronic messages and images (if applicable) that you wish to send. Be aware that there will be limitations; electronic access may not be available at all or restrictions on number/size may be in place. Request that the researcher notify the field station if necessary.

  • Work with your PI and team to define a few possible classroom activities. You will take the lead on these - but they can offer content expertise and often are interested in learning from you how to develop good classroom materials.

After You Visit the PI

  • Continue to stay in touch with your research team about schedules, preparation, etc. If your PI requests information from you - provide it promptly!

  • Continue to prepare yourself for the research - do not be shy about asking questions of the team!

  • Work on the activities.You may want these used in your own classroom while you are gone. Keep your research team in the loop - this helps define your role as an educator and illustrates how their science is going directly to the classroom.

TEA in the Field

  • BE SAFE!!!

  • While in the field, you will be part of a research team, as well as being responsible for communicating with classrooms via your daily journals and electronic mail. The hours will be long and the conditions will be harsh. Often only a short, and expensive window is available for an individual researcher to collect data in the polar regions each year. This means that tempers may be short!

  • Remember that you are representing the Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic Program. Always remain a professional, even when those around you are not! Many individuals at the field sites may not know about the Program and may begrudge "valuable research space being taken up by a teacher." Invest in a little programmatic PR; share the impact the Program has in your classroom and the classrooms with whom you communicate. To date, no one has developed a negative impression about TEA when they have learned a little about it! Be patient!! Be flexible!!!

  • Maintain a positive attitude (no whining allowed). One PI stated this was the MOST important ingredient for a positive field experience.

  • Be considerate; respect the work, knowledge, ideas, time, and resources of others; remember that many of the non-research staff at stations have advanced degrees.

  • Be prepared for setbacks. Be flexible.

  • Do more than your share - for research and housekeeping duties.

  • Help when needed - Stay out of the way when needed. Be sensitive to the needs of those around you.

  • Use your critical thinking skills.

  • Parcticipate! Talk with all members of the research team. Ask about the research. Understand the equipment. Keep abreast of the findings and their meaning in the big and small picture. Perhaps suggest a weekly summary of findings and new directions.

  • Share your writing; write about research team members. Keep the researchers posted on good questions you receive from classrooms.

  • And with all of that said, enjoy your possibly-once-in-a-life-time experience!

Field Follow-Up

  • The TEA experience provides the opportunity for the teacher to experience research, but it also is important that the researchers have the opportunity to experience education. Invite your PI to visit your classroom (funding is available through the TEA Program for this - see "Researcher Grants") or encourage the PI to visit a local high school classroom. Having the PI interact with a classroom may offer more insight into your profession, and may open more dialog between you. Remember that you can invite your PI to visit your school either before or after your field experience.

  • If a follow-up visit is provided for you to the PI's institution, perhaps use this opportunity to review your project conclusions and co-author a paper for the Antarctic Journal, Arctic Research Journal, or for a teacher's journal or prepare for a scientific meeting. This time may offer the opportunity to collaborate on activities for the classroom that tie to your research.

  • Keep your PI posted on your outreach activities. Periodically let them know about your presentations, activity development, etc. Invite them to parcticipate in your presentations. Send copies of newspaper arcticles about your experience to the researchers

  • Request that your PI keep you posted on research results - papers written, presentations given.

  • Complete the activities using your research team as a resource. Provide the completed materials to them.

  • Stay involved in the TEA community. Parcticipate in TEA meetings. Organize TEA events in your district. Stay in touch with your TEA colleagues and the TEA Program staff. Remember that the transfer component of TEA continues long after the field experience is over. As a TEA you are a great resource and have access to other such resources both for your local community and the broader community.

2) Journals

  • TEA parcticipants will maintain a journal for the duration of the project beginning with preparations to go to the field and the experience with the researcher at the researcher's institution. While in the field, this journal will be kept and sent daily (if electronic access permits).

  • The journal will be electronically mailed to the TEA Web site to be posted on the parcticipant journal calendar. If the parcticipant is located at a remote field site, a delay in e-mailing the journal may be anticipated. Find out what is available. If you cannot send the journal each day, you are still responsible for writing daily and sending the journals as soon as you have the opportunity.

  • The entire journal also will be printed in a hard-copy format and submitted to the EHR representative within three months of return from the field experience.

  • TEA parcticipants may have a personal Web site, but they must send the journals and images to the TEA Web site as well. Each site will offer a link to the other.

  • It is expected that TEA parcticipants will review journals of previous TEA teachers (e.g., Harris, Rosenberger, Stevens, McComb). Journals should provide a window on the science and on personal experiences. They should encourage investigation by students in the classroom, and inquiries by students to the TEA. They should provide the teacher with experiences that can be woven into the class setting (e.g., weather report, flora and fauna sightings, ship location, safety precautions, daily experiments, experiment planning, etc.). Data may be available for you to send - discuss this with your PI (be sensitive to issues of proprietary data and personal issues!). Target audience: students, teachers, general public. These should not be travelogues focused on "tourist" activities, but rather journals on the science of your experience. Photographs in journals should convey science content in a meaningful way.

  • While your journals are your own, they are provided to convey your TEA experience and not other outside experiences.

  • Privacy Note: The Program asks that you NOT POST YOUR HOME ADDRESS AND PHONE ON YOUR WEB PAGES. Your school contact information and your TEA email are available through the TEA Web site. We ask that you help TEA protect that level of your privacy.
3) Images
  • TEA parcticipants should keep a photo journal of all of their experiences, from the initial preparation phases to the implementation of their experiences in the classroom and the community.

  • Take many pictures of people doing the research! Take many pictures of the TEA doing science (don't be shy!). Images with people doing science tell more of a story than images of the equipment standing alone.

  • At any time during the TEA experience, digital images can be posted to the Web, if electronic access is available.

  • Within 6 weeks of return from the field, the TEA will send to the TEA Archive/Rice University:

    • 20 to 30 high-resolution digital images with an electronic figure caption that includes location, names of individuals in the slide, and a detailed description of the activity or scene the image depicts. These will go on the Web page for others to download.

    • Copies of 6-8 prints (4x6 or larger) that depict the field experience. These will go into the TEA Scrapbook. They will not be returned.

    • If video is collected, an edited copy will go to the TEA archive (15 to 30 minutes of tape demonstrating research and educational experience) within 6 months of the return from the field.

    • If photographs of children are taken, permission forms must be signed by the parents or legal guardians for the images to be included in your journal and/or other TEA uses. Please contact Arlyn Bruccoli if you have questions about permission forms.

4) Publicizing the TEA Experience

  • The TEA Program will send a "press release" to the school, district, local media, and the TEA's professional affiliations, HOWEVER, the TEA also should help the school, school district, and local media to "broadcast" the upcoming adventure to the community. Follow-up "press" is a good thing, too.

  • Be sure to mention:

    • That your experience is part of the TEA Program (Teachers Experiencing Antarctica AND the Arctic, not just one or the other) and that it includes other teachers and researchers;

    • That the TEA Program is funded by the National Science Foundation (Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources and the Office of Polar Programs);

    • That TEA is jointly facilitated by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire, with support from Rice University in Houston, Texas;

    • The TEA Web site so that other teachers will be followed and visitors can find polar educational resources;

    • Your researcher and her/his institution; and

    • Your school and district.

  • "Selling" the experience to school officials and administration can be "challenging." This is not an opportunity for an individual - this is an opportunity for the entire school community to parcticipate in a polar research experience! Remind them that this is a professional development opportunity that integrates research and education. It focuses on bringing innovative, teaching into your classroom and can serve as a model for other teachers in your school and district. It is an opportunity to infuse technology into the curriculum in a positive, responsible manner. It also offers good PR for the district (e.g., demonstrated press coverage from earlier TEA experiences).

  • Before the field experience, the TEA should
  • Save copies of all newspaper (etc.) arcticles about your experience. Send three copies to the TEA Archives at Rice University (one for the archive; one to EHR; one to OPP) and a copy to your research team.
5) TEA Presentations
  • TEA teachers will give at least six presentations to the public about their research experience and about TEA. These are intended to inform the public about the TEA Program (future expeditions, resources available, etc.) as well as about the Arctic and Antarctic!

  • TEA teachers will present their experience to the local board of education.
  • Often the presentation is a single hour of contact with no lead-in or follow-up. This severely limits impact. When presenting to classrooms, contact the teacher ahead of time and find out in what context you will be presenting. Provide materials and resources for the teacher before the presentation. Work through an activity with the students to make the interac_ion hands-on and inquiry based.

6) Polar Experiences in Other Classrooms
  • TEA teachers will attend the TEA Transfer Workshop (pre-specified time; typically the summer following the field experience). Workshop parcticipants will share existing, and identify new, inquiry based polar curriculum materials and resources for the classroom. These materials are intended to be shared with colleagues and the broader TEA community.

  • TEA teachers and associates are encouraged to submit classroom activities to be shared with the teaching community on the TEA Web site.

  • Activities will follow the philosophy and format prescribed by the TEA parcticipants involved in annual activity development workshops. An activity template is available on the TEA Web site through: ../teainfo/tea_activity_new_template.html. The template outlines the necessary components of activities (e.g., connections to NSES, etc.).

  • Activities may be reviewed by other educators and researchers for pedagogy and content.

7) TEA Meetings

  • TEA parcticipants are expected to attend three of the following meetings after their field experience, if funding is available to support attendance; funding may come from the district. TEAs are expected to have completed a reasonable number of their responsibilities before travel grants, etc. will be available (e.g., if a TEA has been out of the field for one year, they should have submitted all of their field materials, completed approximately 1/3 of their mentoring responsibilities and finished one online activity).

  • TEA Orientation in the late summer (by invitation). This meeting will bring together new and previous TEA teachers (as partners), researchers, and representatives of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources and the Office of Polar Programs.

  • NSTA National Conference at which the TEA parcticipants present their experiences to the educational community in the form of presentations, workshops and booth display. Attendance is based upon completion of an application that demonstrates active involvement in TEA through development of activities, continued presentation of experiences and resources to teachers and students, mentoring of peers, etc. Note that the TEA does not have to be active on all of these fronts at once!

  • Transfer Workshop at which parcticipants will re-connect with colleagues from their TEA cohort, explore more deeply, paths for collaborating with and mentoring colleagues, and share and identify existing inquiry based activities that bring the TEA polar experience and the process of science into the classroom in diverse ways.

  • TEA Travel Grants are available on a limited basis for TEAs to present at education and research conferences (See TEA Travel Grants). The TEA will present their experiences and introduce the goals of and materials available through the TEA Program.

8) TEA Parcticipants as Partners and Mentors

  • Several opportunities exist for TEAs to act as partners and mentors:

  • Following the field experience, the TEA teacher may be asked to serve as a buddy to new TEA parcticipants. This may involve meeting the new TEA at the summer orientation workshop, presenting information about the field experience, and serving as a resource for the new TEA in the time before, during, and after the research experience.

  • Each TEA is required to mentor a minimum of three peer teachers for a minimum of 140 hours each over a period of three years. Much of this is "face to face" time. These teachers are considered TEA Associates. These learning focused relationships are a critical component of the TEA Program. It is an opportunity for development of content knowledge and teaching/facilitation practices for the TEA and for the collaborative team members. Mentoring allows the TEA to share the research experience, and ideas for bringing research into the classroom with others. Just as we hope students become immersed in investigations, the mentoring experience can be an immersion in the research experience for the TEA and the team members. The mentoring will be documented by the TEA and each of the three team members and shared electronically with the TEA community and with NSF.

  • The TEA can lead local TEA Associates networks. Associates are an integral component of the Polar Learning Community and will incorporate the TEA on-line journals, RealAudio, and Q/A potential in their classrooms during the TEA field season. The TEA will be available to answer questions, visit the classrooms to speak with the students about the research experience, host local workshops to develop plans for integrating the TEA experience into the curriculum, etc. Associates are invited to parcticipate in all discussions on the TEA Web site, attend TEA meetings (limited funding available) and to submit activities and ideas. Associates are available to serve as pilot-classrooms for the activities developed by the TEAs.

9) Report-Out

  • At the close of the field season, each TEA will be asked to evaluate the Program formally. It is important to understand that ideas, suggestions, and comments are necessary to help "grow" the TEA Program - new ideas are always welcome!

  • Each year, by 15 January for at least the first four years (one year before the experience, and three following), the TEA will submit 1) an annual report and 2) a mentoring report electronically to the TEA Archive/Rice University. A template is available through: ../teainfo/tea_teafactsheets.html. This report describes the TEA-specific activities in which the TEA has parcticipated over the last year (presentations, newspaper arcticles, workshops, activities development, visits to/from researchers, etc.). Send this to your researcher as well!

  • The TEA parcticipant will collect video and print media that discusses the experience and PROMPTLY send three copies to the TEA Archive/Rice University. One copy will go into the TEA archive, one copy will go to the EHR representative, and one copy will go to the OPP representative. These materials help demonstrate community interest in the TEA Program. Include your researcher on the mailing list!

TEA Responsibilities Agreement

TEA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to places few individuals ever experience - the Earth's polar regions. It is a program in which the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education and the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation believe and invest resources - our tax dollars. In turn, the Program needs investment by its parcticipants; this investment is longer-term than many other programs. TEA is a teacher enhancement project; it seeks to immerse teachers in research so that they are better prepared to facilitate real research experiences in their classroom and with their peers. There are several responsibilities that go with this marvelous field opportunity.







Journals and Images


I will submit a daily journal (electronically) while in the field. If field conditions prevent me from submitting my journal on a daily basis, I will submit as regularly as possible. I will submit all remaining journal entries within a month of my return from the field.




Within three months of returning from the field, I will print a hard copy of my journal and mail or present it to the ESIE representative.




Within 6 weeks of return from the field, I will send to the TEA Archive at Rice University 20 to 30 high resolution digital images with an electronic figure caption that includes location, names of individuals in the slide, and a detailed description of the activity the image depicts.






Within 6 weeks of return from the field, I will send to the TEA Archive at Rice University copies of 6-8 prints that depict the field experience with an electronic figure caption that includes location, names of individuals in the image, and a detailed description of the activity the image depicts.






Within 6 months of return from the field, I will send to the TEA Archive at Rice University an edited copy of video if collected  (15 to 30 minutes of tape demonstrating research and educational experience).








I will give at least six presentations to the public about my research experience and about TEA.

I will present my experience to the local board of education.








Polar Experiences in Other Classrooms


I will parcticipate in the Transfer Workshop and will work with my TEA colleagues to identify inquiry-based activities that bring polar science and the process of science into the classroom. If I create such activities, I will share these with the TEA community. I will share all of these polar resources with my teaching colleagues.





TEA Meetings

I will attend at least three meetings, which include Orientation, NSTA, and the Transfer Workshop, if funding is available to support my attendance. My district has agreed to fund my attendance at one meeting.





TEA Parcticipants as Partners and Mentors


I will mentor a minimum of three peer teachers for a minimum of 140 hours each over a three-year period.


I will parcticipate in the Mentoring Resource Groups until such time as I have completed my mentoring requirement.


I am willing to serve as a buddy and resource to new TEA parcticipants to help prepare them for their upcoming field experience.


I will be available to serve as a TEA facilitator to local TEA Associates networks to answer questions, visit classrooms, host local workshops, etc.














At the close of the field season, I will evaluate the Program formally (questionnaire provided).  I understand that my ideas, suggestions, and comments are necessary to help “grow” the TEA Program, and will offer this input throughout my parcticipation.


I will send three copies of all press-related material concerning my field research experience to the TEA Archives at Rice University.


Each year for a period of at least four years, by 15 January, I will submit an annual report and a mentoring report electronically to the TEA Archive/Rice University that describes my involvement in TEA activities such as presentations, activities development, visits with researchers or classrooms, etc.
















Signature / Date

Teacher Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic




Signature / Date

Representative, TEA Program




Signature / Date

ESIE, NSF Representative