Becoming a science teacher is a way to help formulate young minds and introduce people to the fascinating world of science. Some of the greatest scientists in history have also been teachers, seeing it as their duty to ensure the future of science by educating the next generation. Choosing the best science teaching jobs will depend a lot on an individual's goals, both as a teacher and as a scientist. In addition to practical considerations for choosing science teaching jobs, such as salary and benefits, it may be advisable to consider the opportunities for advancement, level of interference with personal research, and amount of creativity allowed in the job.
While having a wildly exciting teaching job can be great, it will be little solace if a teacher can't afford to pay the rent or see the doctor. When looking for jobs, realistically consider the salary and benefits versus the cost of living in the area. Additionally, since jobs at primary and secondary schools often include a two or three month unpaid vacation during the summer, it may be important to plan for income to cover that period.
Science teachers have great opportunities to inspire students, but can also get stuck in a rut if not allowed to teach in an interesting manner. Be sure to sit down with school officials or department heads and discuss the scholastic requirements of each class, and how much freedom the position will entail for creativity. In some schools, administrative professionals may want teachers to focus solely on teaching a proscribed textbook or preparing students for a standardized test. While this may be acceptable for teachers who see teaching as a side job and do not want to put a lot of effort into preparing lessons, it may be unbearable for others. Choosing science teaching jobs that match a teacher's level of interest in serving as an educator can help lead to a more satisfying career.
Many scientists continue to do personal research and fieldwork despite taking science teaching jobs. Certain positions such as university teaching jobs, may offer teachers access to world class facilities, grant opportunities, and student assistants to help them in their personal work. If maintaining a productive scientific career is important, be sure to look for science teaching jobs that accommodate this interest.
Fourth graders are going to have a different aptitude and comprehension of science than high school honors students, making it important to choose science teaching jobs at a level that is interesting to the individual teacher. Some teachers get a thrill from introducing very young students to the wizardry of chemistry and the marvels of the natural world, while others enjoy seeing older students start to independently address problems with scientific skills. Still others may want to serve as college or graduate school professors, proud of the chance to help dedicated students start their own careers. Science teacher jobs that are inspiring and exciting to the teacher, as well as to the students, can be the foundation of a great career.