Career Story: Biology Teacher At A Public High School

Biology Teacher At A Public High School

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: A public high school in central Connecticut.

Education: BS, Biology, University of Connecticut •• MS, Secondary Education, Eastern Connecticut State University

Previous Experience: I worked as a substitute teacher in several schools, including the high school where I now teach.

Job Tasks: I have to make lesson plans prior to each day to make sure I am ready to teach each of my classes. I get in about an hour before school starts so I can get settled and make any copies or lab preparations that I'll need. I teach five classes each day, four in biology, at both the honors level and basic level, and I teach a freshman class called Energy and Matter, dealing with the basics of chemistry and physics. The curriculum I employ is geared toward preparing students for the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) that they will take in their sophomore year.

While teaching, I have to try to create interesting lessons that will keep students engaged, I have to manage student behavior, and I have to make sure that all students understand what I am teaching. I then have to find time during my free period or after school to correct and grade student assignments.

Teachers also have to go to faculty meetings, where all teachers meet to discuss certain issues or receive training of some sort. We have department meetings, where we discuss matters that apply specifically to the science department, such as how we will spend our budget. Each teacher must make a list of the supplies we will need for the following school year.

I also coach the junior varsity basketball team, which means practices or games every day after school from December through February -- which is fun but it makes the days long. I am also the adviser of the school's environmental group, the Earth Club.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of teaching is interacting with the kids in many different ways. I love getting students excited about science or watching kids figure something out or get excited when they learn something new or interesting. I really enjoy interacting with kids outside of class as well, by coaching basketball, advising the Earth Club, and attending other sports games or plays, band concerts, etc.

My least favorite part of the job is how much extra time I often have to spend working outside of school hours. Constantly planning and grading papers can consume a lot of my time, and occasionally it can be exhausting. It is also never fun having to deal with discipline issues, although it is a necessary part of the job.

Job Tips:
1. Plan ahead: the better prepared you are the more comfortable you will feel when you get ready to start teaching each day.

2. Get involved in school activities outside of your teaching. You will really connect with students deeper if you attend and/or run extracurricular activities. Students love to share with their teachers the things they are passionate about outside the classroom.

3. If you are going to teach secondary science, get cross-certified in whatever subjects you can. It will make you much more marketable when seeking a job if you are certified in say biology, chemistry, and general science, than if you are only certified in biology.

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