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Career Story: Science Lead Teacher

Science Lead Teacher

Job Title: Science Lead Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in North Carolina.

Education: BS, Biology (minor in Psychology) •• National Board Certification in Secondary Science (Physics)

Previous Experience: I taught junior high school science for 3 years, then taught at the high school level (physics, physical science, biology and oceanography) for 20 years. I have been selected as the Teacher of the Year for my county twice. I have led many staff development sessions and occupied leadership positions in the schools system

Job Tasks: I work with teachers during their planning periods to help improve science instruction. I teach them how to conduct hands-on, inquiry science labs. I assist them in developing organizational skills and in improving classroom management while students are engaged in lab activities. I perform demonstration lessons with students to allow teachers to view how to manage a classroom with students participating in inquiry-based instruction.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of teachers and their students. Teachers are engaging their students in hands-on science lessons, which is improving instruction throughout the county. Students love doing science because they are active and thinking. They love the natural world and enjoy finding new information and acting as real scientists. I enjoy the service that I provide to the teachers. I make their jobs easier by providing content-specific training that improves their understanding and models labs that they will conduct with their students. I am a reference for teachers when they have science questions. I provide safety training and information, set up county-wide workshops, share ideas on best practices, and help with other issues when needed.

The worst part of the job is that I no longer know my students as well as I did when I was a classroom teacher. I see students throughout the county 1-3 times during the school year. I do not have the opportunity to make connections with individual students the way I once did.

Job Tips:
1. Dedicate yourself to the teaching profession and do the right things for the right reasons.

2. Always have a good idea of the "big picture" of education. Sometimes decisions are made for the good of the whole. You must be mindful of that.

3. Kids who are interested and engaged in learning don't get into trouble often. A stagnant, boring classroom is asking for trouble.

4. Do not try to be a friend to your students. They must respect you. Set clear and consistent rules for your classroom and follow those rules. Know your students. Be understanding, kind, and genuine.

Additional Thoughts: I did not set my goal in my career to be the Science Lead Teacher for my county. I was a good classroom teacher with a consistent, fair, organized classroom. My reputation over the years as a good teacher helped me get my current job. The thing that I would tell anyone from any profession: your reputation takes a very long time to build, but it could be destroyed with one wrong decision. Fortunately, I have avoided decisions that would have negatively affected my career.

Also, be a good person. Be kind and fair to others. Do not be a door mat. Stick up for what you think is right, but choose your battles wisely. Do the right thing. Be the bigger person in a disagreement.

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