After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
Realize the duties and responsibilities of a science teacher
Understand how their teaching can be more effective
An effective science teaching is one of the most important ways to create educated citizens. Enthusiastic, intelligent and well-learned science teachers prepare students in such a way that they are able to contribute to the society. Due to the interaction with a committed science teacher, many students develop lifelong scientific interests. On the other hand, the teacher also feels satisfied.
Now, the question arises, what does a science teacher do? There is a long list of tasks done by a science teacher, but one point should always be remembered that a science teacher is a teacher first and then a science teacher. Normally, in any school, a science teacher is expected to do the following (Figure 11.1);
Figure 11.1 Duties and Responsibilities of a Science Teacher
- To plan the activities for the whole year. It is done at the beginning of the session.
- To plan every day lessons before going to the class.
- To guide and supervise the laboratory work.
- To check the inventory in the laboratory and procure the materials when needed.
- To arrange and use the teaching aids.
- To co-ordinate the T.V. programmes on science and the school time table.
- To be updated in his/her field of knowledge.
- To encourage the students to make models for science exhibitions and science fairs.
- To organize intra-class and inter-class competitions such as, quiz, essay writing, poster making, on the topics of science.
- To attend in-service programmes to remain updated and for rejuvenation.
- To analyse the syllabus and suggest changes.
- To prepare question papers and check the answer sheets.
- To evaluate the students throughout the year with the help of a variety of curricular and co-curricular activities.
The most successful of science teachers have said that they understand the importance of science, but don't know how to satisfy the curiosity of children, i.e., how to make science teaching more effective. The following suggestions have been found useful by many science teachers:
- Be confident: Approach the teaching of science with confidence, not with the awe, usually, reserved for the first sight of a man from the planet Mars. It is not as unusual as you think. It is not so much different from teaching social studies, language, arts or arithmetic, in which most teachers feel at ease. It is not more difficult to teach, in fact, in some ways it is easier because it deals with the concrete things and reaches the real interests of many children.
- Learn with the children: Don't expect to know the answers to all the questions that children ask you. If you wait until you do, you’ll never begin teaching science. Teachers tell children too much anyway. If you know children, and know how to help them learn, half your teaching battle is won. Don't be afraid to learn with children. Let them set up the plans for finding the answers to their problems and then, you act as a guide and learn with them. Of course, you need to know some subject matter, but you don't need to be a science specialist.
- Get your basics cleared: After a unit or area of science study has been decided on, read some simple basic science textbooks on the learning level of the pupils you teach. Then get some good general science or biology textbooks and read them. Here you will find most of the science subject matter background essential for teaching young children.
- Perform experiments beforehand: Do some of the experiments suggested in these books so that you get the feel of the material. These school science experiments are not half as complex as you may think.
- Be interested in activities: Do some of the ‘things to do’ that the books suggest—trips to take, observations to make, experiments to do, collections to make. To see is, both, to believe and to feel, and it is much easier to get your pupils interested in and excited about the town's filtration plant, if you have yourself seen how wonderful it is.
- Procure helpful ideas: Talk to the other science teachers in your school and enlist their help. They can often give you teaching ideas, suggest experiments, and help provide materials and books. Science is their special field, and they are usually full of helpful ideas.
- Take children's help: Don't feel too handicapped because you lack materials. Children can bring from home almost everything you, actually, need. What they cannot produce, you can get at the market or the hardware store (ironmongery). You can also borrow them from the school science department. Otherwise you can find in the schoolyard, get from the school janitor, or let the children themselves make those equipments. Expensive, complicated apparatus is worse than useless in a normal science class. It is likely to be confusing and to draw attention to itself rather than to the problem at hand.
- Let pupils experiment: It is one of the ways how children learn, and they like it. Use some of the abler pupils in your class to gather materials and prepare the instruments.
- Be comfortable with children: Start your class by teaching the topic with which you feel most at home. This may be contrary to the belief of some persons that the pupils should initiate the problems to be studied. That theory is open to question anyway. If any of your school science training programmes, a personal hobby, or an interest of your own has given you a background in some special field, using that knowledge or interest to determine your choice of topic may be your springboard for science teaching. Later, it will be easier for you to follow the children's leads. They can always enter into the planning even if the original idea comes from you as the teacher.
- Use manuals and ICT: Make good use of the teachers’ manuals and C.D.s that accompany your science textbook. They are full of teaching ideas that have been tested and found good. They are often helpful even if you are not following the text which they have been prepared to accompany.
- Be organized: Keep track of your science materials, your notes on teaching, your plans, etc., so that you can use them in future or lend it to the other teachers. The second time, a topic is easier, especially if you have access to the material you have used before.
- Be open to suggestions: Talk to the other teachers about what things they have found successful, and be ready to share your experience with them. Such an exchange is often a great help.
A point for all science teachers to remember—decide what it is you hope to accomplish by teaching science; keep it in mind, keep track and keep evaluating to find out how close you are coming to your goal. And above all, let these purposes be possible for the pupils to be accomplished and allow them to help with the plans for accomplishing these objectives.
- A science teacher can make children interested in science by interacting with them.
- A science teacher has to perform various duties such as:
- Plan for everyday and the whole year
- Plan and supervise the laboratory work
- Remain updated in his/her field and attend in-service programmes
- Organize co-curricular and extra-curricular activities
- Evaluate the students
- A science teacher can be an effective teacher in the following ways:
- Be confident
- Learn with the children
- Get basics cleared
- Perform experiments beforehand
- Be interested in activities
- Procure helpful ideas
- Take children's help
- Let pupils experiment
- Be comfortable with children
- Use manuals and ICT
- Be organized
- Be open to suggestions
- Describe the duties and responsibilities of a science teacher.
- How can a science teacher be an effective teacher?
- What are the traits of a good science teacher?