Teachers are responsible for class preparation, classroom management, as well as developing and grading assessments, and meeting with students and parents outside class. High school educators may teach between four and six classes comprised of 20 to 30 students. They may also lead field trips, organize afterschool activities, and provide tutoring outside of class.
High school chemistry teachers often develop curriculum objectives for their classrooms using state and national science teaching standards, guidelines from national science organizations, and local input. Teacher use the objectives as a planning guide for daily lessons that might include guided lectures, modeling laboratory investigations, projects, and group inquiry.
Tenure, provides job security for public school teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Laws governing teacher tenure vary from state to state. According to the National Federation of Teachers, teachers must successfully a probationary period to obtain tenure, which can vary from state to state. During the probationary period, supervisors observe new teachers in classroom several times each year and evaluate them on such factors as classroom management, lesson planning, presentation skills and using the data from student test scores to plan instruction. After successfully completing their probationary periods, new teachers are granted tenure, entitling them to due process governing the discipline and dismissal of tenured teachers.
Public schools in all states generally require some sort of certification in order to teach, as do some private schools. The requirements for certification vary considerably from state to state. Some states require completion of a degree from an approved teacher education program. Other states require competency testing, student teaching experience, and/or specific academic degrees.
A number of states offer alternative certification programs that allow technically qualified professionals to begin teaching immediately and catch up with the certification requirements in the evening or summer. A few states allow teachers with strong content backgrounds to meet alternative criteria.
Most states require a passing score on the Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers Skills Exam and Chemistry Exam. PRAXIS stands for Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. The PRAXIS series of exams is administered by the Educational Testing Service at various times during the year and at various locations.
No matter which sector you choose, one of the best things you can do while still in school is to get as much laboratory experience as possible, preferably in a field similar to where you want to work after graduation. The specific type of experience you get doesn’t matter so much as making sure that you learn instrumentation, laboratory techniques, scientific calculations, problem solving, and so on. Take advantage of opportunities to learn and practice non-technical skills, such as written and oral communication, time management, leadership, and teamwork. There will be a lot of on-the-job training, but you will need to be capable of keeping your own schedule, keeping a good laboratory notebook, recording observations completely and accurately, storing data properly, communicating your work with others, and so on. All these skills will come in handy, no matter which sector ends up being right for you.