Southold science teacher selected for state masters teaching program
Tim McArdle’s career path was charted when he graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School. He became a teacher. And now he will teach teachers.
This comes with his selection to the New York State Master Teacher Program. Mr. McArdle, a science teacher at Southold Junior-Senior High School, is one of 230 teachers representing 159 school districts who have been selected in the fields of science, technology, computing, robotics, coding , engineering, mathematics and integrated sciences, technology, engineering. and K-12 math classes.
Mr McArdle, 36, who applied for membership two years ago, learned of his acceptance on February 11 by email. “It’s an exciting step in my career,” he said.
Mr. McArdle began teaching in the school district in 2013. He teaches at various grades, primarily in grades seven and eight, as well as high school earth science, one of his passions.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the teacher selection earlier this month. With these new additions to the program, established in 2013, the number of selected master teachers across the state has grown to more than 1,400, according to the governor’s office.
The program involves a four-year commitment during which those selected receive an annual stipend of $15,000, engage in peer mentorship and professional development, and attend regional meetings.
“I’m going to learn a lot more real science instead of just superficial, and I’m going to try to bring a lot of that stuff back into my classroom and give my kids a better experience,” McArdle said.
Additionally, he will give presentations to student teachers and early career teachers, talking to them about things like lesson design and his approach to teaching.
Mr. McArdle sees his involvement in the MA program as a way to offer more, beyond textbooks, to his students.
“One of the larger goals is to rekindle the enthusiasm for real science in teachers,” he said. “That’s the goal… The older I get, the more I want to learn even more every day because I want to bring a good quality product to my children.”
Southold Junior-Senior High School principal Terence Rusch called Mr McArdle’s selection a “tremendous achievement”.
Mr Rusch said Mr McArdle is a “phenomenal teacher. Every time we’re in [his classroom]children are smiling, they are active, they are doing things.
As a youngster, Mr. McArdle had a pretty clear idea in his mind as to what he wanted to do in life. He had only to look at his parents, both teachers. “I thought they had a good quality of life and a lot of things made sense to me, so that’s kind of the path I took,” he said.
Mr. McArdle completed his undergraduate studies at SUNY/Oneonta, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science Education. He then attended Stony Brook University, where he earned a master’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in earth sciences.
Mr. McArdle’s school day takes place in the same classroom of the middle school building. “The whole college science department is me, all by myself,” he said.
“As a teacher, I love seeing this student interest, this excitement,” he said. “I mainly teach middle school students and I have to say that they are very interested in almost everything I do, and that persuades me to continue giving them the best of myself on a daily basis. So their level of interest in the concept that I love is really the driving force for me.
Mr. McArdle is not only a teacher, but also a coach. Last fall he completed his first season as Greenport/Southold/Mattituck football coach. He also coaches the Southold/Greenport women’s track team.
“I think my coaching experience really played a part in my teaching experience because coaching is teaching and teaching is coaching,” he said. he declares. “It’s the same thing. It’s just a different place… I tell kids all the time, my football pitch is the biggest classroom.
Mr. McArdle’s introduction to teaching years ago was, in a word, overwhelming.
“A lot of people joke about the teaching profession that, you know, we go to work early, but we come home early and we have all these vacations, yada, yada, yada,” he said. “I hear it all the time from my friends. Those first two years I was really learning my craft of becoming a teacher. The amount of work I did from sunrise to sunset was amazing. That’s all I did. My life revolved around that… I was just learning so much. I was learning the good, the bad, this and that, and I was really overwhelmed with the workload.
“I was also overwhelmed by the impact I had on the lives of students. You don’t realize that a kid who’s sitting in your class looking at you while I’m talking all the time, how important that can be for a kid, and a little chat can go a long way for some kids. As a young 22-year-old teacher, I was shocked to impact the life of a child who is only a few years younger than me, and it was shocking. It’s frightening.”
Now Mr McArdle hopes young teachers can benefit from his experience.
“I’m excited to work with some of these young teachers because I know the mistakes they’re going to make before they make them,” he said. “I know the pressures they’re going to feel before they feel them.”
Mr. McArdle and his wife, Katherine, a certified teacher who is not currently teaching, have been together since they were in high school. They live in Patchogue with their three children: Cole, 7, Tristan, 5 and Rylie, 2.
Today, Mr. McArdle opens a new chapter in his professional career.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s definitely up there, but you know, the real rewarding thing is what I do day to day. It kind of just more validates what I do.