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Job Description for a High School Chemistry Teacher

Updated on June 11, 2012

Unlike in higher levels where teachers are specialised in defined areas of chemistry, high school chemistry teachers should be able to master and interpret all aspect of the chemistry prescribed for that level. Small wonder, high school chemistry is categorised into two broad levels: organic and inorganic chemistry.

The best way to describe high school chemistry is to place it under general chemistry where the teacher should be able to explain general overview of practical chemistry, metals, non-metals, organic chemistry, nuclear chemistry, e.t.c.

Here, we will be describing the Job of a high school chemistry teacher in specific terms.

Qualifications

This differ from country to country and from whether it is a private or public school. But Bachelor in chemistry or chemistry education is universally acceptable. In Nigeria for instance, NCE certificate in chemistry is the least requirement for becoming a chemistry teacher.

High School Classroom

Classroom with an interactive whiteboard in St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny, Ireland
Classroom with an interactive whiteboard in St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny, Ireland | Source

Duties

  • Introducing Students to the Basic Foundation of Chemistry
  • Career Guidance and Counselling
  • Preparation of Student Report and Recommendation
  • Demonstrating Practical Chemistry
  • Preparing Students for Examinations
  • Recommending Books and Resource Materials
  • Reporting to the School Head

Introducing Students to the Basic Foundation of Chemistry

It is the duty of a high school chemistry teacher to introduce new chemistry students to the basics of the subject. The teacher should be able to make the introductory process interesting and simple. A beautiful way of ensuring this is to point to history and discoveries in chemistry. A student should be able to substitute himself in the place of Michael Faraday, Ernest Rutherford, Isaac Newton, e.t.c.

Another beautiful way of making the student to be interested in chemistry is to relate to everyday life. Here, examples of what happens around us like rusting of nails, decomposition of dead organisms, digestion of food, washing of clothes, could be used to awaken the interest of the student.

Start by slicing a piece of yam into two, then take one half and slice it into two, keep on slicing the new half into two until you arrive at the smallest piece that could no longer be sliced.

...that is a beautiful way to create the picture of a molecule!


Career Guidance and Counselling

Although this may not be the primary duty of a chemistry teacher, the teacher should be able to link link the subject to careers in chemistry. The student would find it attractive when he is informed that chemistry is essential to becoming a medical doctor, chemical engineer, pharmacist, e.t.c.

This is essential in developing countries like Nigeria where we do have to worry about the usurpation of the job of a school counselor by a chemistry teacher. Here,advice on the career prospect of students is based on the sound mind of the chemistry teacher in being able to connect the content of his syllabus with jobs and services that are directly (or indirectly) linked to the subject.

Preparation of Student Report and Recommendation

The high school chemistry teacher should be able to monitor the progress of each student on the subject. He should monitor student feed-back on oral questions and answers, assignments, test and examinations. The results should be a part of continuous assessment that is essential for compiling students' overall class-room performance.

Chemistry Examination scores, test scores and practical examination scores should be used to prepare student chemistry report and should be used to make recommendation. Such recommendation may include chemistry competitions and scholarship.

Teacher and Students

A teacher and young pupils at The British Museum Duveen Gallery.
A teacher and young pupils at The British Museum Duveen Gallery. | Source

Demonstrating Practical Chemistry

The chemistry teacher should be able to teach chemistry by demonstrating practical experiments. Primary practical experiments are qualitative and quantitative analysis where titrations is the most popular.

The teacher must educate the students on lab safety and precautions during practical classes. He/she should be able to manage laboratory materials such as lab equipments and reagents.

The chemistry teacher must monitor and supervise students during practical chemistry class.

Preparing Students for Examinations

The chemistry teacher should use questions and answers to help students master the process of Examinations. Methods used should include a consideration that students would eventually be faced with external examinations such as certificate and matriculation examinations. Past questions and answers are helpful in demonstrating ways to give answers to external chemistry examinations.

Lessons should include how to write chemistry essay, ways to tackle multiple choice questions, how to make chemistry calculations in an exam condition and how to deal with practical examinations.


Recommending Books and Resource Materials

The chemistry teacher must be able to identified approved chemistry books for high school students. In addition, the teacher should be able to select and recommend other chemistry test books and materials that are helpful to the student

Reporting to the School Head

The head master, school supervisor or head of department (HOD) may not be present to monitor the progress of students in each subject, hence it is the duty of the teacher (chemistry teacher in this case) to make necessary reports as regards his subject. Such reports may extend to issues that are not related to chemistry but are associated with activities during chemistry lessons.

Finally, a high school chemistry teacher should be skillful in classroom management and must have the general qualities of a teacher. And should enjoy all benefits reserved for his/her job. Such benefits include retirement benefits, health benefits, e.t.c.

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    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      I had a great high school chemistry teacher. I managed to pass the course with a good grade. He employed many of the teaching techniques you described in your Hub. It made science a fun and challenging experience. Super Hub and thorough description!

    • Chemistry Book profile image
      Author

      Chemistry Book 5 years ago

      Simone, I think the way to approach chemistry is to simply love the subject. If the high school teachers could just adopt the affection for the subject they would give all that are listed above. Thank you!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What a great listing of qualifications! Hahaa, I wish all high school chemistry teachers did ALL of the things you've outlined above... it seems to be like many just do the bare minimum, or less, which is a shame, because chemistry is an amazing subject!!

    • Chemistry Book profile image
      Author

      Chemistry Book 5 years ago

      Hello krsharp05! I like that the term, "melt my butter"! It reminds me of the hydrogenation of oil to make margarine. Really appreciate the nice comment!

    • Chemistry Book profile image
      Author

      Chemistry Book 5 years ago

      Thank you Robert Erich! Am dealing with school students everyday. Sometimes, it's so funny how they respond to the Chemistry Book Hubs. Some wouldn't resist challenging the teacher. LOL!

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      This is great! I have done a bit with high school students and it can be so much fun. I enjoy the detailed specifics that you place into this article. Very useful and well written! Voted up.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      krsharp05 5 years ago from 18th and Vine

      Nice hub Chem! I love the atmosphere of teaching but standard chemistry terrifies me :) It's the forensi chemistry that really melts my butter. Love your hubs. -K