Chemistry teacher courses are typically available through bachelor's and master's degree programs in secondary education with emphasis on chemistry. While bachelor's programs are geared toward those seeking teacher certification, master's programs do exist for certified teachers who want to be able to teach chemistry as well. It is also possible to earn a bachelor's degree in chemistry and then take additional teacher education courses toward certification.
In addition to didactic coursework, aspiring chemistry teachers also complete student teaching, which is required for state certification. They must take teaching certification tests, including a general one in education and another in chemistry specifically. Other requirements may apply and depend on the individual's state.
Here are common concepts examined in chemistry teacher courses:
- Nuclear chemistry
- Organic compounds
- Instructional methods
- Student assessments
List of Courses
General Chemistry Course
Before teaching chemistry, it is important to understand it; this introductory chemistry teacher class examines basic atomic theory, chemical bonding, periodicity and other essential chemistry topics. The course includes laboratory work through which students observe chemical reactions and learn colorimetric and volumetric analysis. Safe practices employed in the lab become second nature and can be passed on to secondary students.
Educational Foundations Course
Educational foundations courses examine the professional practices and key educational issues in the American school system. Students learn the fundamentals of educational development and teaching methods. Often, this course contains a component where candidates observe professional chemistry teachers in the classroom and participate in certain activities, such as grading tests and handing out papers.
Organic Chemistry Course
An intermediate chemistry teacher course, organic chemistry examines the bonding, synthesis and structure of carbon compounds. Students practice identifying organic compounds. In the lab portion of the course, candidates examine the mechanisms of organic compounds and discuss how chemical reactions change a compound's structure and bonding. The class also examines and interprets various chemical reactions.
Methods of Teaching Chemistry Course
This course provides practical instruction for teaching chemistry and other sciences. Class discussion deals with common teaching problems and strategies for dealing with those problems. Students learn about ways to create comprehensive learning environments that include labs, projects and field trips. These chemistry teaching courses give students the opportunity to create lesson plans and practice different lecture and note-giving styles.
Student Teaching Course
Student teaching puts a teaching candidate into an actual classroom environment where he or she will develop a curriculum and teach a group of students, under both observed and independent conditions. Students develop experiments for classes to perform and supervise students in laboratory situations. This is typically one of the last courses students take prior to graduation. It provides practical teaching experience and gives students the opportunity to test different teaching methods.