Haynes thought she might want to teach. But, like many modern grad students and postdocs, she didn’t have enough experience teaching to know if she liked it—or if she could get a job doing it.
Science educators say teaching experience is vital for postdocs, many of whom are going to be teaching as part of their faculty duties someday. But a lot of schools are struggling with how to prepare graduate students and postdocs to teach, and there is no consensus on the best approach.
“For someone truly interested in becoming an academic scientist, traditional training usually won’t offer lessons in pedagogy or how to teach,” says David J. Asai, director of HHMI’s precollege and undergraduate education programs. “I think teaching experiences for postdocs are a great idea if someone can be patient, get their research solid, and do a postdoc where they can learn to teach and mentor undergraduates in their own research lab.”
Illustration: Alex Robbins