Secondary Science Teacher Career Analyis Essay, Research Paper
Secondary Science Teacher Career Analysis
After obtaining a bachelors degree in science, most people begin to scour the job market. Many people may find difficulty obtaining a job pertaining to science without a master?s degree. Rather than give up people tend to explore their options. Some people continue their education to ensure their success in the science industry. Others explore alternative careers which interest them. Another option is to share the knowledge obtained in four years of college by teaching in a middle or high school setting.
Each option is better suited for different individuals. Many people cannot go to graduate school for one reason or another. Maybe they do not have the financial means, or they lack the time needed to complete the program. Others choose not to change career fields because science is their main interest and prefer to stick with it. Some choose not to teach because it does not interest them or because they do not know enough about it.
Due to the high demand of secondary education teachers, often people choose this option. In the late 1990?s, the majority of high school students were not taught science by science teachers. The students were instead taught science by teachers who normally taught other subjects (?20 Hot?). That has not changed much in the new millennium. The need for secondary school teachers continues to rise and is not expected to decline in the near future. It is currently listed in the top five for occupations with the most job openings. Many states are also expecting a significant rise in
the number of teachers they are going to employ.
The average salary for a secondary educator ranges from $19,700 to $70,030 a year (United States). $35,750 is the customary income for first year secondary teachers
according to the Economic Research Institute. However, the Bureau of Labor statistics claims that the usual starting salary is $36,600 (?Secondary?). Conversely, $25,700 is the national standard for beginning secondary teachers according to the American Federation of Teachers (United States). And the income for private school secondary educators varies greatly. Some private schools offer free room and board and other offers included as the salary so a comparison is often difficult. Teachers are more likely to receive raises after they have been teaching at the same school district for more than a year. Coaching athletic teams and teaching extracurricular activities also increases pay. Obtaining a master?s degree or Ph.D also increase a secondary school science teacher?s salary. On average, a public school teacher with a master?s degree earns $44,525, and with a Ph.D it is increased even more to $49,125 for a beginning teacher (?Secondary?). But those are not the only reasons science majors decide to teach secondary education. Through the exploration of the definition of a science teacher and the job description, the skills needed to be successful, interests and values desired, future trends, advantages, and drawbacks of the profession you will see why teaching science is a feasible possibility many people majoring in science are beginning to choose.
DEFINITION OF A SECONDARY SCIENCE TEACHER
The first aspect of a teaching profession a person interested in teaching science in a middle or high school setting must do is examine the definition of not only a science
teacher but also secondary teacher in general. It is also necessary to assess the daily tasks and duties involved in secondary teaching.
A secondary school teacher can teach seventh through twelfth grades. Many educators teach either middle or high school but it is not limited to a specific grade level. Secondary teachers must present course materials by providing a lecture, using audio-visual aids, and assigning homework. In addition to actually teaching material, a secondary teacher must also evaluate students through observation and discuss the findings with the student, the student?s parents, and other involved teachers or administrators. Teachers must also supervise the students at all times and maintain proper behavior in the classroom through the use of guidance and discipline (?Secondary?). Most states also require teachers to hold a certification from the state.
Daily Tasks and Duties
There are a variety of tasks and duties that must be performed by a secondary teacher. Some of the duties are daily activities. Others are weekly, monthly, or as needed. The main objective for an educator is, through the use of multiple teaching
methods, to instruct students. A secondary science teacher must also prepare curriculums for each class they teach, including a course outline and the objectives of the lesson according to state regulations. Recording students? progress through the use of evaluations and reports is an additional duty of a high school or middle school science teacher. Educators must also cooperatively work with parents, students, and counselors to help resolve behavior and academic problems. Through the use of discipline and
guidance, secondary teachers are required to maintain order in the classroom. Instructing students using a variety of teaching strategies including small group, modeling, projects, intergraded discipline and interactive teaching is an added task for science teachers at the secondary level (?Tasks?). Additional tasks include the following:
?Assign and grade homework
?Develop, administer, and grade tests
?Attend meetings, conferences, and training workshops
?Maintain attendance records (?Tasks?)
SKILLS AND INTRESTED NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFULL
As with every profession, there are certain skills, interests and abilities needed to be successful. Teaching science at the secondary level is no exception. Many people
may find teaching difficult and unrewarding if they do not possess certain skills and interests.
There are a variety of skills and abilities needed for the field of secondary education. Teaching is much more than just relaying information. It is a process of sharing knowledge in such a way that students? not only want but are able to comprehend what is being taught. The ability to present information in a clear and organized fashion is of the up-most importance when teaching high school or middle school students (?Secondary?). In order to present information in such a way, a teacher must have the
capability to communicate oral and written ideas in a way others will understand (?Knowledge?). Another challenge for secondary teachers is keeping the interest of the students. The first step in engaging students? attention is the ability to not only teach but also learn new things using a variety of approaches (?Knowledge?). Other skills needed to be successful include
?High reading comprehension
?Oral and written comprehension
?Using experience and knowledge to make decisions
?Ability to evaluate objectively
Not only does a person need to possess the skills and abilities of a secondary educator but he or she must also have particular interests. In order for teaching to be a rewarding career, a secondary education teacher must have the desire to share information. The fascination to share knowledge is a key factor in becoming a successful high school or middle school teacher. While teaching, a person will encounter many different types of people and many types of situations. The ability, along with the desire, must be present in an educator (?Secondary?). Another interest that is desired in a secondary education teacher is the willingness to listen to students? academic as well as personal concerns.
FUTURE TRENDS IN TEACHING SCIENCE
According to Jonathan Borowiec and Robert James, science professors at Texas A & M University, science courses at the secondary level are going to change in the future.
There will be more of a focus on outer space. Currently the main focus in secondary science classes is on the earth. Many middle and high school students take biology, earth science, physical science, and chemistry. Borowiec and James agree that in the 21st century there will be more space-based sciences. They also state that the new space based science will focus on missions to Mars and will engage students in a new exciting way (Borowiec).
Cindy White, an eight-grade teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota claims that, ?many trends in the education system recycle around and around and that major changes in education will take a long time to happen as long as money and politics run education.? But one change that White would like to see happen has to do with the education of teachers. She feels that Colleges of Education ought to raise the number of the teaching of reading course an educator must take to graduate regardless of their area of study.
ADVANTAGES OF THE CAREER
One of the greatest advantages of teaching science in a middle or high school setting is seeing young adults develop, master, and learn new skills (?Teacher?). Many teachers derive great personal satisfaction knowing that someone is a better person because of them. This is the greatest gift a person can receive. In their own small way, teachers are doing that everyday whether they are aware of it or not. Other advantages in being a secondary high school science teacher include the working conditions and the freedom.
Not only do teachers only work nine to ten months out of the year, but they also have longer winter and spring breaks than the average employee obtains. There is an old teacher joke that asks the question what is the best part of being a teacher? The answer replies with June, July, and August. In addition to June, July, and August, there are other aspects of the working conditions that make it an excellent choice. For instance, the physical demands of the position are fairly moderate. A secondary educator can expect to do some light lifting, occasional reaching, frequent handling, and frequent talking and listening (?Teacher?). Teaching is by no means a job that requires physical labor.
Although most science teachers teach in classrooms, there is still a veritable amount of freedom that goes along with the teaching profession. Secondary educators
are free to choose what and how they teach within certain guidelines. Each state has there own regulations and standards for a science curriculum at the secondary level. Teachers must make sure they follow those guidelines but are free to choose from a variety of different methods and techniques to relay the information (?Teacher?).
DRAWBACKS OF THE CAREER
As with every career, teaching science at a secondary level has its drawbacks. Some disadvantages are common among most professions. Issues like stress and long hours are disadvantages many people in a variety of professions complain about. Teaching is no exception to these general inconveniences. Along with the stress and long hours, another common teacher complaint is the lack of supplies. Many teachers wind up buying supplies with their own money. Cindy White stated in an email that, ?Teaching is the only job I?ve had where I have had to supply my own paper, pencils, and pens.?
Working with young adults is occasionally frustrating and stressful. The lack of motivation and respect from students is a big factor in the stress level of the teachers (?Teacher?). As stated earlier, many people choose to teach science at the high school or middle school level because they have a desire to share information. A disrespectful and unmotivated student hinders the ability to instruct the other students causing frustration to the teacher. Another common stressor is working alone in a classroom. Much of a teacher?s interaction with people during the day is with students. Adult companionship is rarely available during the school day (?Teacher?). The lack of adult interactions may cause stress and frustration at times. Not only are there minimal adult interactions but the volume of young adults being dealt with on a daily basis can also be stressful (White).
A common teacher complaint is the lack of prep time. This lack of prep time causes long hours on the part of the teacher. Many teachers spend numerous hours working outside of the classroom. Much of these hours are spent grading papers, planning curriculum, and attending meetings. Many believe that the reason for the long hours stems from the large teacher to student ratio. The more students one teacher has means that he or she will have more work to do (?Teacher?). There will be more tests and assignments to develop and grade.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Teaching science at the secondary level involves instructing, evaluating, and assisting students. A person must have an interest and ability to share knowledge in a way others will understand. In order to do this, one must have good oral and written communication skills. A potential teacher must also have the students? interest and well being at heart. Teaching at the secondary level offers many benefits money cannot buy such as excellent working conditions, freedom, and personal satisfaction. Although teaching science at the high school or middle school level is a rewarding profession for most, it does have its disadvantages. Stress and long hours are the two prevalent drawbacks of the career.
INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS
Science majors are beginning to realize the rewards of becoming a secondary science teacher. People choose to teach science for a variety of reasons as follows:
?It allows them the opportunity to continue working in the field of science without obtaining a masters degree.
?Education is an ever-changing profession, which allows new possibilities and trends to be explored.
?Ones knowledge and experience will be utilized on a daily basis.
?Numerous job openings offer variety and stability.
?Rising initial salary plus pay increases for continuing education.
The first issue an inspiring secondary science teacher should consider is the hiring requirements. Commonly, a bachelor?s degree in distributed science and a teaching training program is required to teach science in a secondary public school. But with the vast teacher shortage the teaching training program is no longer mandatory. Private schools have their own requirements for secondary educators; requirements vary for school to school and are not mandated by the government. The next step in becoming a teacher is obtaining an Educator License. A license is required in all fifty states including the District of Columbia (?Secondary?).
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