What Does A Biology Teacher Do? (With Duties And Skills)
Updated 26 January 2023
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Biology teachers are skilled educators who teach students various concepts of biological sciences while preparing their course curriculum. They work in schools and other educational institutions and deliver lectures while performing tasks such as lesson planning and conducting skill assessment tests. Their enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject help them perform their various job duties effectively. In this article, we explore the answer to "what does a biology teacher do," along with helpful job skills and duties they perform to educate the students.
What does a biology teacher do?
Knowing the answer to "What does a biology teacher do?" can help you decide if this is the right career fit for you. A biology teacher performs the following functions daily:
Preparing lesson plans
A biology teacher's job role involves extends beyond teaching biology to students. They play an active role in creating and developing lesson plans for their students to ensure that they follow the syllabus as per the school guidelines. Every school has a specific lesson plan format that the biology teacher has to follow. Depending on the school's requirement, they may either prepare a complete lesson plan for an academic year at the start of the session or prepare monthly lesson plans and follow accordingly.
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Taking biology classes
The primary duty of a biology teacher is to give biology lessons to students and enhance their understanding of the subject. Teaching in a classroom environment also involves maintaining order in a class and using various teaching strategies to explain biological and scientific concepts in a simple, creative and understandable manner. Biology teachers also actively encourage their students to take part in classroom quizzes and activities to ensure they understand complex biological concepts and develop an interest in the subject. They monitor students' individual performance and resolve their queries to improve their performance.
Taking tests and giving assignments
Biology teachers actively prepare test papers for their students to assess their overall understanding and performance in biology concepts such as growth and development, energy processing and the sensitivity or response to stimuli. They also assign tasks, individual and group assignments to promote active learning.
These assignments vary in their nature depending on the course curriculum and module requirements. For example, a teacher can give students a laboratory assignment that requires their understanding of aerobic respiration to test its presence in plants. However, the next time they may assign a written assignment to students to write about the effects of temperature on cold-blooded organisms.
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Like other educators, biology teachers supervise their students to enhance their classroom performance and lab experiments. Biology teachers observe their students during experiments to ensure they are carrying out their tasks effectively and under the school and lab guidelines. While supervising, they also assist their students in resolving any queries related to the experiment or any other biological concept.
Accompanying students on field trips
Biology teachers accompany their students on field trips to provide hands-on training and scientific exposure. Their role includes taking part in activities conducted during the field trip. They monitor students as they direct their questions to relevant authorities present at the educational site or during their interaction with other students. They also organise student and staff meals, transportation and teaching materials to ensure the smooth functioning of the educational trips.
Attend departmental and school meetings
Biology teachers regularly attend the departmental and school meetings organised to address issues students face in classes or to utilise and devise new methods of teaching a concept to students to increase their participation and understanding of the subject. Depending on the school's policies and structure, the department head or the principal authorities can organise weekly or monthly meetings.
Besides meetings, biology teachers also attend quarterly or monthly training conferences organised for continuing education either by the school or the education board to familiarise themselves with the latest changes and updates in biology modules or syllabus or learn about the latest research developments in biological sciences.
Communicate with parents
Biology teachers also organise parent-teacher meetings to discuss a child's performance with their parents. They can either meet with parents in person or can communicate with them via conference calls, telephone calls or email to update them about a student's performance. In addition, biology teachers communicate with students to help them in goal-setting and management and inform their parents about any behavioural or other issues that might affect their classroom performance.
Some common duties of a biology teacher
Following are some common duties of a biology teacher:
preparing and delivering engaging biology lessons to students from different backgrounds, academic capabilities, aptitude and interests to ensure they understand the concepts discussed in class
monitoring student performance, adjusting teaching strategies and techniques for enhanced content delivery
establishing classroom, field trips and laboratory rules to ensure all students understand and abide by them before performing any tasks
preparing and conducting the exams, assessments and experiments according to the guidelines laid out by the school, education board and course curriculum
communicating any issues associated with the student to their parents, counsellors and other relevant staff members
attending school meetings, conferences, club meetings, staff meetings, training and development programs
representing the school and the biological sciences department at conferences, workshops and other networking events
giving suggestions for the improvement of the biology department and general school and classroom operations
building rapport with students so that they feel comfortable and safe while discussing their problems and sensitive issues
encouraging students to take part in classroom activities, science fairs and competitions and preparing them for these events
Some essential skills of a biology teacher
Following are some essential skills of a biology teacher:
Scientific temper is a way of thinking that allows an individual to see every situation through logical thinking, discussion, argument and analysis to avoid bias or preconceived notions. It is essential that biology teachers possess scientific temper abilities and question facts or the latest developments with logical thinking and analysis. A teacher who promotes rational thinking and knowledge passes this trait on to their students, benefiting them in their everyday lives and throughout their careers.
A biology teacher's job involves teaching students daily, conducting classroom activities, interacting with other staff members and school authorities to discuss subject-related issues or the latest research developments and thus they require excellent communication skills. Good communication can enhance the overall teaching and classroom experience of a biology teacher while ensuring a clear and effective learning process for students. It also allows them to be productive and achieve their daily tasks while actively helping students resolve any doubts or queries.
Related: Guide: How To Become An Effective Communicator
Biology teachers use their critical thinking skills to help enhance the learning outcomes for students. They study and analyse different biological concepts and offer detailed insights to improve a student's understanding of subject matters. Possessing critical thinking skills also allows them to review the way school authorities carry out certain activities for students or other classroom activities thoroughly and suggest solutions or ways for their improvement. Teachers can also facilitate critical thinking in students by engaging them in discussions and activities while objectively reflecting on their teaching methodologies to make them more interactive for the students.
Read More: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions And Examples
For a biology teacher, scepticism is an essential skill to have as it allows them to prioritise and prefer the findings of scientific research over accepting preconceived notions and facts about a particular biological concept. It also allows them to question belief systems and practices developed and promoted based on superstitions and lack of knowledge. This can help in highlighting the complexity of anatomy and physiology and adapting the curriculum. By handling situations with scepticism, a biology teacher can foster students' empathy for various identities and perspectives and develop an inclusive class culture.
Being authentic during fact-checking and reporting accurate scientific research findings to students and during biological conferences and meetings is essential for a biological teacher. Having good fact-checking skills allows them to ensure that they reassess and verify the observations in a scientific experiment or procedure before arriving at a conclusion. Teachers with fact-checking skills also encourage this practice in their students to help them value honesty while reporting the findings of an experiment or research study.
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Biology teachers are open-minded and are adaptable to recent changes in the scientific studies of biological concepts. Open-mindedness allows them to be unbiased and make wise decisions. It allows them to be flexible in eliminating any hypothesis, paradigm or model with inconsistencies. Open-mindedness also allows these teachers to consider a variety of different critical perspectives, engage students and promote individual learning styles.
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