Secondary Education

Working with teenagers offers unique challenges and rewards. Secondary school teachers (middle school and high school) need to be open and able to engage and motivate students in this distinct age group.

Typical Job Functions

Chemistry teachers are energized by the prospect of sharing their passion for chemistry with their students. They have a sincere interest in student development and shaping the future of the next generation. They excel at socializing, helping others, and making students see how chemistry relates to the world around them.

Successful secondary chemistry teachers are well-organized and disciplined enough to apply structure to a flexible-but-demanding teaching schedule. Excellent chemistry teachers are themselves lifelong learners and are willing to collaborate and share their expertise with other education and science professionals.

High school educators may teach between four and six classes of 20 to 30 students. Each class requires the teacher to:

  • Develop curriculum objectives using state and national science teaching standards, guidelines from national science organizations, and local input
  • Plan daily lessons, including lectures, laboratory investigations, projects, and group inquiry
  • Develop and grade homework assignments and test/quizzes
  • Meet with students and parents outside of class
  • Lead field trips and organize after-school activities
  • Provide tutoring outside of class

Career Paths

Because they are in what’s known as a “passion profession,” many teachers choose to stay on the teacher track for their entire career. But, there are options for those who wish to branch out. Advancement opportunities may include:

  • STEAM specialist
  • Department head
  • School principal
  • Counselor

Getting Started

Secondary school chemistry teaching jobs generally require a bachelor's degree in chemistry and proficiency in other sciences and math. Additional courses in education and a teaching certificate may also be required. Also useful are:

  • Knowledge of chemistry and a variety of strategies for engagement, instruction, and assessment
  • Knowledge of and training in chemical and laboratory preparation and safety
  • Communication and interpersonal skills to work with other teachers, parents, and administrators

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