ACS recognizes that teaching is a complex and intellectually challenging profession. Successful chemistry teachers will adopt the stance of lifelong learning and be willing to collaborate and share their expertise with other science educational professionals.

Characteristics of Effective Professional Development for Chemistry Teachers

  • Active learning opportunities for teachers derived from research and practice.
  • Opportunities for teachers to further develop content skills and knowledge.
  • Opportunities for teachers to reflect on the practice and effectiveness of their teaching and share these reflections.

  • Accessible alerts to chemistry teachers of accidents that occur when common laboratory activities and/or demostrations are carried out, with acces to recommended modifications.
  • Opportunities for teachers to learn in collaborative settings, such as professional learning communities within schools and districts.
  • Support for teachers in leadership roles. 

How School Districts Can Show Support

School districts and administrations must support teachers’ efforts by providing time, opportunity, and funding to support professional development, including updates on safety procedures when inspired by laboratory accidents with specific techniques that are frequently used by chemistry teachers.

ACS expects the full support of each teacher’s school and district to assist educators to grow as professionals. Support includes:

  • Providing a school environment that encourages teachers’ inquiry into their own practice, 
  • Providing the resources to promote teacher leadership in professional learning communities, 
  • Enabling opportunities for teachers to regularly network with other educational and scientific professionals, 
  • Recognizing and supporting teachers’ participation in professional organizations.

Successful School Districts Value Sustained Professional Development

Research finds that the most effective professional development is sustained throughout a teacher's practice, is teacher-led and collective in nature, is content-based, and focuses on improved student learning.1

To this end, schools and districts much highly value and be willing and able to provide and/or support such professional development. In keeping with educational practices, teachers should consider the authority and reliability of the professional development resource. 

School administrators and districts should provide teachers with release time during their workday or with stipends for opportunities to make professional development activities truly available to teachers.

The Case for Continuity in State Certification

There should be continuity among states for certification purposes requiring chemistry teachers to hold a certification in chemistry. 

The requirements for certification should include training on good safety practices for setting up and conducting hands-on laboratory activities and demonstrations.

ACS Guidelines and Recommendations
for Teaching Middle and High School Chemistry

An essential resource for middle and high school physical science and chemistry teachers, curriculum developers, principals, and other school administrators who support teachers in those roles.

Learn about the nature of instruction, the core ideas to teach, the physical instructional environment, safety, sustainability, and the professional responsibilities of teachers.