High school teaching is both a career and a lifestyle, not to be entered into lightly. In order to be successful, you must enjoy the work and truly love hormone-laden teenagers. This career provides daily interactions with young people who are developing their own understanding of important scientific concepts and big ideas. Effective science teachers possess not only a though understanding of the subject matter but also a background in pedagogy and mastery of creative teaching methods that convey both the ideas and enthusiasm for the subject a hand.She interviews Bob, a high school teacher with a B.A. in chemistry. After Yale, he was a student teacher in New Haven and other places in Connecticut. Moving to another state, it seems, requires a bit of navigating of the teaching certification system:
Bob taught in Connecticut for six years and then decided to move back to Missouri, where he and his wife could be close to family and afford to buy a house. But even though he was certified to tech in Connecticut and had taught there successfully for six years, he was not even provisionally certifiable to teach in Missouri. He recalls, "As it turned out, Missouri didn't care that I was certified in Connecticut. I had to go back and take some completely ridiculous classes to get my Missouri certification. I decided to take a year off from teaching, take care of my newborn daughter, and finish my master's degree in chemistry while I was at it. The next year, I had no trouble getting work, since lots of schools were hiring." Bob has been teaching at his current school for 14 years and has no plans to change careers.
On a typical day, Bob interacts mostly with students but also with other teachers, counselors, secretaries, maintenance staff, substitute teachers, student teachers (interns) and parents. Typically tasks include lots of paperwork -- writing and revising labs, worksheets, quizzes, tests and note sheets and sending them off to the copy center; filling out forms and progress reports; and always grading, grading, grading.I don't think I want to be a high school teacher: too much hassle and not enough money. Interacting with students and parents doesn't seem to be a fun way to spend my day. But I'm not everyone.
The positives? Really, you get to change and grown young minds, you get to be a role model and you can actually have an impact on people. I remember my high school science teachers and you do too, I'll bet.
*As always, CJ's copy of the book helpfully provided by the author, Dr. Lisa Balbes.