Science is the core of our civilization’s advancement. It’s been responsible for everything from the invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire to nuclear fission and the Internet. Science teachers are at the heart of STEM education, responsible for keeping our educational system at the top of its game and in providing the next generation of cutting edge researchers who thirst for knowledge and new discoveries.
Whether at the primary or secondary school level, science teachers provide a broad background in the sciences, teaching everything from the basics to the beginnings of advanced knowledge. They build a passion for science and learning, and are the key to future innovation. Explore the requirements, skills, knowledge and qualifications held by a science teacher and what it takes to enter this career in your home state.
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What A Science Teacher Does
The exact duties of a science teacher vary based on the grade level they teach. At the primary level a science teacher will instruct the fundamentals of research, of the scientific method, and of the basics of all branches of science. General science courses at this level will cover biology, chemistry and the laws of nature all in one, with the end goal of fascinating students and getting them interested to pursue studies further.
At the high school level, courses will focus on one specific subject, generally speaking. For example, there might be a biology class, a physics class, a chemistry class, and even different levels of these courses. A single teacher, however, might teach several different classes on several different topics.
Science teachers must have a solid grasp of how to conduct scientific research and must know how to create experiments and hands-on experiences which will both educate and be relatively safe from danger. Science is an experiential field as much as it is theoretical, and it’s vital to be able to communicate both approaches in an engaging and interesting way.
Knowledge, Skills and Responsibilities
Because they must teach a range of subjects, science teachers require solid knowledge of a wide range of scientific disciplines. They must know about theory, about method, about the best practices for experiments and safety. They know how to use lab equipment and how to deliver concepts in an engaging and interesting way.
On a day-to-day basis science teachers must develop and deliver lesson plans, evaluate student performance, grade papers and projects, proctor exams, oversee experiments and ensure safety and security in the face of potentially dangerous situations. They meet with parents, teachers and staff to discuss educational issues, and they help to oversee extracurriculars.
Becoming a Teacher
In addition to a wide knowledge of scientific principles, theory, disciplines and fields, a science teacher needs education in teaching. In general, you’ll need at least a four-year degree in teaching science, along with following state requirements to get certification which requires exams, internships, and background checks, among other steps. If you wish to become a science teacher and improve access to knowledge for students in many backgrounds, check out the state requirements and get started on the road to becoming a teacher today!