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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 put the spotlight on the need for great math and science teachers across America, calling for states to compete for more than $4 billion for education innovation and reform, including recruitment, professional development, compensation, and retention of effective teachers.
According to the NSF, characteristics of high-quality teachers include educational attainment, professional certification, participation in practice teaching, and self-assessment of preparation. Teaching science can be very rewarding, and great teaching methods can be learned; you just need to find the right program to prepare yourself for a career in a middle school or high school science classroom.
If your passion for science has you dreaming of days filled with lab coats, test tubes, and a roomful of inquiring young minds, maybe your calling in life is that of a science teacher!
There’s no doubt science teachers have played an integral role in the lives of generations of Americans and, through the inspiration they provided to their students, helped make possible some our country’s greatest achievements. From landing on the moon to developing the Internet to sending the Hubble telescope deep into the universe, some of history’s biggest scientific milestones can most certainly be traced to the spark of imagination fueled by a middle school or high school science teacher. Are you one of those people? Would you like to be?The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 put the spotlight on the need for great math and science teachers across America, calling for states to compete for more than $4 billion for education innovation and reform, including recruitment, professional development, compensation, and retention of effective teachers.
If you earn a master's degree in science education, you can expect a steady market for your knowledge, skills, and experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for middle and high school teachers, including science teachers, will grow nearly 6 percent from 2014 to 2024.
According to the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program, there is a crisis-level shortage of science and math teachers in American schools, and the demand is so high, teachers often teach outside of their areas of expertise. This, coupled with a national initiative to recruit, prepare, and retain 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021, has created an unprecedented opportunity for today's middle school teachers to update their credentials with the science knowledge and teaching skills to mold the minds of the next generation.
Why does gravity work? How do plants reproduce? What’s the difference between an acid and a base solution? Science class presents an opportunity for a great teacher to make a big difference in the life of a student.
From the early grades through high school, getting and keeping your students engaged with biology, chemistry, or physics concepts will depend on your ability to make your lesson plan interesting and relevant to their lives and imaginations. It’s not about memorizing facts in textbooks; it’s about engaging them and inspiring them to want to learn more about the world in which they live. Some of these qualities might be inherent to your personality, but others can be learned and polished through an industry-current degree program focused on preparing successful science teachers for rewarding careers.
If the idea of becoming a middle school or high school science teacher appeals to you, the following organizations can provide support and guidance to help you achieve your goals.
There’s always a demand for great science teachers with an up-to-date education and credentials. Check out some of the current positions available for dedicated educators in middles schools and high schools across the country.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200 in May 2015, while middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $55,860.
However, there is often a direct correlation between your level of education and the salary you can expect to earn as a middle school science teacher. Increasingly, school districts are seeking candidates with advanced degrees and are paying them more than job seekers with bachelor's degrees. Clearly, in this day and age, a science teacher's salary can benefit from having an advanced degree on the resume. It pays to continue your education, because the more you know, the higher your salary can go!
So what makes a great science teacher? According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), many things factor into a teacher’s capacity to inspire young minds. An affinity for the age group you teach. An effective classroom management style. Expert use of instructional methods. In-depth content knowledge. All of these qualities and skills will help you in your pursuit of a career teaching science, and to explore the boundaries of what great teachers can accomplish in their classrooms, an advanced program from an NCATE-accredited institution, such as a Master of Arts in Teaching Science, can be a great place to start.
Curriculums for aspiring science teachers have come a long way. A modern, innovative curriculum will empower you to complete much of your coursework online, so you’ll be able to fit your studies into your current schedule without disrupting your personal and professional responsibilities. You’ll also be required to complete a demonstration teaching component, evaluated by a host teacher and monitored by a clinical supervisor, providing you with the opportunity to demonstrate your teaching skills in a live classroom setting.
Conduct your own experiment on the potential rewards of becoming a science teacher, and you just might confirm the hypothesis that you belong at the head of class!
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