Career Story: Science Teacher In A Suburban High School

Science Teacher In A Suburban High School

Job Title: High School Science Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school in a suburb of Boston.

Education: BA, Biology, SUNY-Cortland •• M. Ed., Secondary Education, UMass-Boston

Previous Experience: I worked as a camp counselor and lifeguard before I started teaching, but I've been teaching since I got out of college.

Job Tasks: My daily responsibilities and duties encompass grading papers, creating and implementing lesson plans, and designing and revising lessons.

I wake up early (usually 1-2 hours before school begins), drive to school (which takes 30 minutes) and try to get set up for the day. Often, I will meet with some students before the day begins. We operate on a five-period rotating schedule, so depending on the day, I could find myself teaching every period. More often, though, I have a "free" prep period.

During the day, I try to come up with activities that are fun for the students, or as we now say "interactive." These activities include labs, inquiry-based computer simulation work, or hands-on simulations. I try my best to get students involved, using every trick I know, and I try to teach them socratically, encouraging debate and prodding them to ask questions and seek answers (with me being a facilitator).

Once the periods are done, I usually stay after school for about an hour to meet with students and to plan for future lessons. I am not the type that always teaches the exact same way every day. To be an effective teacher, you need to look at students as people and not just sponges.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the daily interactions I have with the students. Students keep me young and informed about their lives, and I have the ability to modify my lessons to fit their individual needs. Additionally, I enjoy creating new lessons and modify existing ones.

The worst part of the job for me is the endless grading that occurs, but it's a necessary evil, I suppose.

Job Tips: Take courses that interest you, especially in science, and try stay abreast of current world news and scientific advances. You ought to have the capacity to try things and fail, as many science experiments and demonstrations do not succeed. It's not what your degree is in or what school you attended, but rather it's what you do with your career. To be effective, you must be committed to learning throughout your life.

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