The Golden State remains one of the top areas in the nation that puts to work the highest number of chemistry teachers. Many instructors employed by colleges, universities and professional schools within the greater Los Angeles region earn more than $100,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experts say a growing demand for exceptional chemistry teachers underlines the importance of the dedicated position. For most, their role is to prepare the next generation of ambitious, life-changing scientists.
“Not only do we need to inspire more young, creative scientists to solve modern problems, but talented science teachers will create a well-educated and scientifically literate public,” said Dr. Nicole Bouvier-Brown, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). “Chemistry provides a foundation on which many other disciplines are built.”
The St. Mary’s College of California alumna said there is even an active push to place chemistry teachers inside primary classrooms.
“There is a need for proficient science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators, especially at the middle and high school level so that the love of these fields can be passed on,” said Bouvier-Brown, who earned her Ph.D in environmental science, policy and management from the University of California, Berkeley.
How is LMU readying chemistry majors for rewarding careers?
“Students participating in our program master content and develop critical thinking patterns and communication skills that prepare them for professional careers as scientists, educators, health professionals, and scientifically literate citizens.”
What key qualities must an effective chemistry teacher possess?
“Successful chemistry teachers must have knowledge about the subject, but also the gift to patiently communicate this information to those who are learning the material for the first time.”
What defines a successful chemistry teacher?
“Successful long-term chemistry teachers find ways to tie the topics to their personal interests and keep the examples current and relevant to their students.”
What is your advice to striving chemistry teachers?
“I encourage future educators to visit our Center for Undergraduate Teacher Preparation. This program supports all aspiring teachers, and there is a specific coordinator available to advise those interested in teaching high school chemistry.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.