What it Means to be an Exemplary Science Teacher


What it does not mean…

What is wrong with the picture below? Students are dis interested, there is no conversation occurring, no one is engaged with the topic, and most of all no real learning is occurring.

An exemplary teacher is not someone who goes through the motions. Teaching science involves more than just reading notes off power point, taking notes, and lecturing. Students need to learn subjects in multiple different forms to effectively retain the information. Science above all subjects is something that involves a lot of hands on learning. It is hard to effectively teach a student the organ organization of a frog without first having dissected it and seen the organs first hand.

Most of all being an exemplary teacher requires a passion. If a teacher does not have a passion for the subject they are teaching then they should not be teaching that subject, or teaching at all. In order to successfully teach a field of study, it requires knowledge and it is hard to have knowledge without passion, the two go hand in hand.

What it does mean…

What this picture below shows is passion. Hillary Swank’s character in the movie Freedom Wirters has passion and interest in her students. She takes them from a bunch of inner city students with no direction, to a group who has a future before them. This would not have happened without her character’s dedication to the topic and her students.

Being an exemplary science teacher involves action. Being an exemplary science teacher requires passion. Being an exemplary science teacher, most of all, entails diving into the topic and making it graspable to students so everyone can effectively learn the topic and apply it outside of the classroom

The hardest thing about being an exemplary science teacher is determining what an exemplary science teacher is. But, an exemplary science teacher is not definite. An exemplary science teacher needs to be malleable. As a teacher you should be like a non-Newtonian fluid in a sense. You should be able to go with the flow when needed, but also stiffen up and stick to your guns when you need to. Being an exemplary teacher involves molding your class and class activities to your students. You need to make your class as accessible as possible for your students. If you need to teach a topic as an activity instead of a lecture you should.

Being an exemplary teacher means being a model teacher. This means that the way you conduct your class should be applicable to other subjects. Having an open conversation, interacting with people in the field, and doing hands on activities are things that can be done in all subject areas. But in science classrooms these types of activities are necessary. Science is not a subject that can solely be taught by lecture and homework questions. Science is hands on, so it needs to be taught that way. In order to teach science effectively you need to do these things of things, which all come along with being an exemplary science teacher.


A teacher is someone who holds a lot of power and responsibility in the life of their students. Teachers have the ability to greatly influence students every single day. This is why teachers need to have a vested interest in their field of study, and in turn their students. A passionate teacher can go a long way for a student. If they see that you are passionate about the topic, they will be too. This passion fosters learning, which is the main goal of a teacher for their student.

Twitter: @MrRadford_Sci


  1. I really liked the emphasis you put on passion. Passion is very important within the classroom. It inspires your students to be engaged in the topic being addressed. However, as you alluded to throughout this post, passion alone is not sufficient. Being exemplary requires a process. I also really enjoyed the way you described what an exemplary teacher is. Being able to adapt and be flexible is essential, but knowing when to stand firm is also important.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you about the power within DOing something rather than LEARNing about something. A truly exemplary teacher needs to give their students a chance to make their learning real and tangible.

  3. I really enjoyed your thoughts on being an exemplary teacher, especially the fact that there is no singular definition for how to be one! I think a lot of teachers search the web for “ways to be a cool teacher”, often picking one or two suggestions and then sticking to that. But like you pointed out, being an exemplary science teacher is not something you can just learn from WikiHow. It’s a process, and it involves passion and dedication. I would love to hear of a few examples of how teachers have been passionate (like how that shows up in a classroom) and the impact it had on the students! Overall, great work!

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