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Secondary Science questions(19 Posts)
I'm just trying to get to grips with the way the system works. If I train as a Biology teacher, presumably at KS3 I would teach the full Science syllabus? What about at GCSE and A level, am I likely to teach Chemistry and Physics too?
I am hoping to start training in September 2017. I am arranging class observations but unfortunately I am very limited in the number of days I will be able to do as I work full-time. However I would like to do whatever I can to prepare, for example by brushing up on subject knowledge. Are there any particular resources that you would recommend that I should look at?
KS3 you would usually teach all 3 sciences in a state school. GCSE you usually teach your specialism. Some schools may expect you to teach Core science outside your specialism, just depends on the number of staff they have available. I would just get a generic science gcse revision guide to help with subject knowledge.
Actually, most state schools expect svience teachers to be able to deliver all three sciences to gcse. You then do a level in your specialism.
I've always taught general science at KS3 and most schools I know would expect you to be able to do that. Some schools teach science separately, especially if they start GCSEs in year 9. In some schools I've taught just biology at KS4 but more and more schools are struggling to get science teachers and so expect you to do all 3. I've even done some maths and geography in one school! The CGP revision guides can be a good place to get an overview of what's covered in each subject. They are quite cheap if you don't want to spend much at this stage. You could also just look at the specifications on the exam board websites (e.g. OCR or AQA). Hope that helps.
DH is a lab technician at a local sixth form centre that offers biology/chemistry/physics A Levels as well as BTEC Applied Science.
The five science teachers he supports have degrees in Physics and Biology - there is no Chemistry specialist (DH is the most "qualified" Chemist there - he did 18 months of a Chemistry degree before switching to Biochemistry). They are all expected to teach all disciplines (although Chemistry is usually taken by the HoD who has a degree in Nuclear Physics).
DH looked into teacher training and was told in no uncertain terms that he would be expected to teach all three sciences to A Level in most schools, that the only place subject specialists existed were at independent schools, and that in some places he would also be expected to cover maths.
It depends how many of each subject specialists they have. Most schools have an abundance of biologists, some chipsets and few physicists.
You're not expected to teach them to a level!! That would be ludicrous. There are conversion courses to teach a level physics if you specialise in other subjects.
Great - I loved Chemistry in school; it was only at university when Biology got more and more detailed, that I started to favour Biology. It would be great to teach both. I never did much Physics but in ways that makes it all the more exciting to learn now - if I get accepted for PGCE I would definitely love to do a subject enhancement course. I was confused because I keep being asked to pick a subject, and whilst Biology is clearly my subject, I'd like to teach all 3! Great to know that I can. Although ideally not A-level Physics... I'd need a LOT of subject enhancement for that!
Thank you very much for the revision guide recommendation - very helpful indeed!
This is probably going to sound really daft, but is there anything I can do to start thinking about how lessons would be planned whilst I am reviewing subjects? Or is lesson planning straightforward if you're familiar with your topic?
Agree with the other posters: in most state schools you would be expected to teach all 3 Science subjects at GCSE.
At A level, it depends on your degree subject. If your degree is Biochemistry it's possible you may be asked to teach some A level Chemistry (probably Organic Chemistry) as well as Biology. Otherwise you may just teach your degree subject at A level.
Physics teachers with degrees in Physics are a rare species (and I have been asked to teach Physics A level with Chemistry degree as I did Physics in first year at uni). This is however counterbalanced by the fact that at A level Biology is the most popular Science subject followed by Chemistry then Physics.
Also, could I ask what the majority of your time is spent doing outside class time? How long do you spend preparing for classes in the mornings, what do you do after school after the children have gone home, and how long do you spend in the evenings, and is this largely marking, lesson prep, or other admin?
Thanks all for your help and insights!
Lesson prep, data crap, marking. For hours and hours and hours. I love teaching but by god it's hard at the moment. I'm at school by eight thirty and am there until 6pm, I then will often spend another couple of hours working in the evening, especially at this time of year.
I hope you don't mind if I gatecrash with a question ceebie. I am in the process of applying for a secondary science PGCE place for September 2016. I'm just waiting for one of my references before I send the application off. I have been teaching GCSE Biology to adults for three years and I quite often browse TES for new ideas so I have built up a folder of interesting practicals/activities/worksheets/video clips etc that I dip into when I'm planning lessons. There are some good threads in the science forum where teachers share ideas that have worked well for them. I'd like to collect some bits and pieces that could be useful for my PGCE but I wanted to ask:
1. do you think this would be useful or is it a waste of time until I have more experience at secondary age and know which activities will be good for the classes I am teaching?
2. which websites are good to use apart from TES, marvin and milo, saps?
3. does anyone have any top tips for keeping everything organised so I can find it when I need it - by key stage or subject or topic?
Excellent questions backinschool, am hoping someone comes along with answers too! Sounds like you have a really good head-start already.
It depends on the school.
You'd be expected to teach all three sciences at KS3 if the school timetables Science as a subject rather that Biology/Chemistry/Physics.
It's common to teach two specialisms at KS4 and 1 at A-level.
But I have seen many different scenarios.
Backinschool, lots of schools have detailed schemes of work including their own preferred resources but I think it's useful to collect some of your own stuff if you happen to come across it in the meantime. I tend to organise everything by key stage first then subject then topic. If you have an especially good Yr9 for example you might have to remember to look at your KS4 resources too but otherwise that structure worked for me. I also scanned in all paper resources and filed them in the appropriate topic so that I wasn't have to look in several different places. You will probably find your own way of doing things so don't worry about getting too organised in advance!
Backinschool do you mean physical files or digital? In both cases I would sort by KS first then topic. Never by spec as they have a habit of changing. Digital files are more important - save everything you want from any schools you train in too! Good luck
Thank you. I meant paper and digital files really. The digital file are more useful but paper copies are easier to flick through. I only teach GCSE biology and some BTEC units just now so I have plenty of space to accumulate 'stuff'. When I started at the college they didn't have any schemes of work or resources or anything really. It has taken me ages to get everything organised. It was my first job in teaching so I had no idea what I was doing but the thought of trying to do everything from scratch for several subjects and key stages is still a bit scary. I'm hoping for detailed schemes of work!
You might not get detailed schemes of work but there is a glut of beautiful prepared resources from a variety of sources. Too many to choose from in the end!
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