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Becoming a middle school science teacher can be a rewarding decision that leads to a lifetime of personal and professional satisfaction. Students in grades 5-9 are curious by nature and eager to learn how the world works and evolves. They're fascinated by the origins and complexity of the universe, the Earth, and its ecosystems and organisms. Science teachers help them quench their thirst for knowledge in these critically important, formative years. In middle school, students will expand on the science fundamentals they learned in elementary school and prepare for the more complex subjects and lessons that will greet them in high school.
If you have a science background and are interested in exerting a positive influence on young minds, pursuing your teaching degree is the first step towards helping tomorrow's generation learn how to apply scientific concepts in the examination of natural science fundamentals. As a science teacher, you'll be responsible for helping your students understand the basics of biology, chemistry and physics, but just as importantly, you'll play a key role on piquing their interest in the world around them and inspiring them to understand the hows and whys of the world we live in.
A career that begins as a middle school science teacher doesn't necessarily mean you'll spend the rest of your life in a classroom. Many teachers love what they do and choose to do so until they retire, but life as an educator can lead to a number of different opportunities, especially if you continue your education to stay current and consistent with the expectations of an ever-evolving marketplace. Here are just a few of the directions you might point your teaching career.
When you're a science teacher, you can generally expect a steady job market across the country. Employment may vary by region, but the number of new students in middle school is expected to increase, requiring more teachers to accommodate them. Also, a growing preference for smaller student-teacher ratios is fueling the need for expanded faculties. Furthermore, a significant number of teachers reaching retirement age will create job openings as new teachers are needed to replace them.
As a middle school science teacher, chances are you'll either work in a public or private school. Class size will vary from one school to another. Your daily schedule will include time before and after school to meet with parents, students and other teachers. You may also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons. Many teachers enjoy summers off, while others choose to teach summer programs. If you teach in a school district with a year-round schedule, you'll typically work about 8 weeks, followed by a break before starting a new session. Most schools also have a long, mid-winter break.
Ready to become a middle school science teacher? You'll find lots of professional organizations that offer a wealth of information to help guide your career. Here are a few places to get started:
If you have the right credentials and the desire to make a difference in the lives of America's youth, you'll find a lot of great opportunities to pursue your calling as a middle school science teacher:
As with most occupations, a science teacher's salary will be directly related to how much experience you have and the level of education you have achieved. Generally speaking, the median annual wage for a middle-school teacher was $55,860 in May of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In states where teachers are in high demand, salaries can escalate, and those with an advanced degree are typically paid more than those without one.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to become a science teacher, but you will need to have at least a bachelor's degree, and many states now require middle school teachers to major in their specific content area. You'll also need a valid teaching certification or license in the state where you live and work. It'll also help to have good communication skills, because you'll be discussing your students' needs with their parents as well as school administrators.
In recent years, the path to becoming a science teacher has gotten more convenient. Thanks to innovative curriculums that leverage the power and capacity of web-based learning, it's possible to acquire the knowledge and skills to become a highly qualified middle school science teacher almost completely online. You'll also need to successfully complete a sequence of demonstration teaching and in-classroom field experiences, commonly known as student teaching, to qualify for teacher licensure, and certain high-quality university curriculums have coordinated these components to be flexible and adaptable to your schedule. To ensure a quality education that will be recognized once you're ready to apply for your first teaching job, make sure you enroll in a superior program that has received NCATE accreditation, which leads to teacher licensure.
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