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Career Story: High School Physical Science Teacher

High School Physical Science Teacher

Job Title: High School Science Teacher

Type of Company: I teach in a small high school (530+ students) in central Massachusetts.

Education: BS, Education, Worcester State College (Worcester, MA) •• MS, Education, Simmons College (Boston, MA)

Previous Experience: I taught religion classes for several years and enjoyed working with the students.

Job Tasks: I teach a required Physical Science course and an elective Environmental Science course. I prefer the Environmental classes as students choose these on their own, seem to be more interested in the subject and are always upperclassmen.

Both of my classes involve occasional lab exercises which are fun to do with the students but require a lot of preparation. My classes are sometimes very large (in excess of 25 students can attend) and activities are sometimes chaotic.

Our school runs on a seven-day block schedule rotation, which means each day we miss a period and have a double class usually dropping the class that the block ran for the previous day. My schedule calls on me to teach five classes a day with a tutorial group or a study hall and a period for meetings or preparation.

In addition to teaching my lessons another important part of my day are the meetings and preparation/correction time. There are many weeks where the preparation time exceeds the actual class time!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being with the students. Although there is routine, each day is different. My job also provides a lot of "down time," or what some call time off. Much of the time off, though, is spent catching up!

The worst part of my job is correcting student papers. One test can involve two to three hours of correcting time per class, so often my work days can exceed 12-15 hours!

Job Tips: If you decide to pursue a teaching career, take several majors in college. It is good to have several certifications (science, social studies, language). This can make for a more diversified day or offer you some protection if the school you eventually teach at suffers staffing cuts during hard economic times. Also, be sure your technology skills are adequate. The more technologically-literate you are, the easier your work in the classroom will be.

Additional Thoughts: The most important personal quality for success in teaching is you. Your personality is your most important tool. If you enjoy being with people, teaching is a career that you should consider. The rewards are many and the job is ever-changing and never boring!

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