Biology Teacher (Secondary School)
High school teachers (also known as secondary school teachers) are responsible for instruction within a specific area of a school's curriculum. They plan and implement a course of instruction to provide each student with a solid grounding in that particular subject. Teachers are responsible for ensuring each student has the tools necessary to achieve success.
In regard to genomics and genetics, advances in these fields have changed our understanding of biology and related sciences. A high school biology teacher today must be able to understand these changes and then explain to their students what it means to them and society at large. Teachers must develop a context that will enable students to make sense of what they are learning and what it means to their future.
Teachers are highly influential in the lives of their students. Through teachers, students can learn respect for knowledge, the tools necessary for success, and the role of individuals in society. Science teachers, then, are responsible for making students better, more responsible citizens of an increasingly technical, scientific society.
In the coming decade, job opportunities for teachers will range from good to excellent, depending on location, grade level, and subject taught. There is a national shortage of science and mathematics instructors, so employment opportunities for teachers in those fields will remain high.
Working Conditions & Context
Teachers often work alone with a group of students, though some work in instructional teams. Some also work with students on an individual basis, as with tutors.
Teachers typically work more than 40 hours per week, devoting time to curricular activities, lesson planning, and grading schoolwork in addition to the time spent instructing students in the classroom. Many teachers also devote significant time to professional studies, workshops, and supplementary training.
Teaching often requires working with a large number of students, and as such can lead to stress. Students may be ill-prepared for the demands of the classroom, and a teacher must reach these students on a one-on-one basis, with the student's best interests in mind at all times. The rewards are often equal to the challenges.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $34,280 - $80,970 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $51,180 annually.
Public high school teachers must hold a Bachelor's degree with a certain amount of credit hours in both content and pedagogy. Many states require teacher candidates to take qualifying examinations and complete an approved teacher training program. In some states, those who want to teach may hold a degree in the field they wish to teach, such as history or music, and satisfy teaching requirements through an alternate certification process.
Certification & Licensing:
All 50 states and Washington, DC require public school teachers to be licensed. Licensing is not required for teachers in private schools. Typically, a state's board of education or an advisory committee grants licenses.
Teaching certificates are commonly issued for a specified number of years and must be renewed intermittently. Most states require continuing education for renewal of teaching certificates.
The US Department of Education
Life Science Education
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The National Association of Biology Teachers
The National Science Teachers Association
The National Education Association
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.