What Does it Mean to be an Exemplary Science Teacher?

Think back to your high school career. I know it may seem like decades ago, but everyone has certain memories that stick out in their mind that they will never forget. Try to recall some memories of specific teachers you had. What comes to your mind? When you think of high school, do you think of a room full of kids watching the clock, mindlessly tuning out the dreary words of the teacher in front of them? Or do you think of a room full of students excited about their education, engaged in the learning process, laughing and talking and interacting with one another?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word exemplary as, “deserving imitation : commendable; also : deserving imitation because of excellence.”

An exemplary teacher is one of which goes the extra mile to engage their students. Exemplary teachers take the time to get to know each and every one of their students and learn alongside them. Exemplary teachers recognize that just as the students learn from you everyday, you learn from them, as well.

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Diagrams and flow charts like this can help remind educators to think creatively in their lesson plans.

The idea of exemplary science teaching may sound big and fancy but in reality, it is fairly easy to identify it when you see it. Exemplary science teaching is easy to spot. One tell tale sign is the class’ body language. Are the students in the class sitting on the edge of their seats, leaning forward, intently listening to the teacher? Or are they slumped back in their chairs, arms folded, and eyelids drooping down.

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The students here are not engaged. The teacher is writing the correct information down, however, the class will likely not retain much of it.

Another way to tell if a teacher is being an exemplary one is by looking at the class participation. Are the students willing to discuss with one another the topics being presented to them? Are they coming up with new and creative and complex ideas on the subject? Or are they silent when you ask a question, eyes glancing at the floor so that they don’t get called on.

Here is a wonderful TedTalk from Danny Doucette. He talks about how science nowadays is taught all wrong. He says thats students need to be able to connect what they’re learning to the real world in order to get fully engaged in it.

When I think about the reasons I want to be a science teacher, there are many that I could list off. One of them, however, is that I’ve been inspired by all of the wonderful teachers that I was lucky enough to have in high school. Teachers who took the time to listen to my questions and joke around with me and have a mutual respect and understanding with me. These teachers helped to inspire me to want to pass along my knowledge to other generations to come and mimic their approach to education. This in itself is an example of exemplary science teaching.

When I am a teacher, I want to do everything in my power to engage my students. I understand that not everyone is going to be jumping up and down to learn about lysosomes or the different layers of the atmosphere. But there are ways to teach even the most boring of topics and get students at least somewhat interested in them. I am lucky enough to be studying for my career during a time where people are challenging old practices. The future educators of America today are always coming up with new techniques and creative ideas to engage with students and adapt to everyone’s learning styles.

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Getting students engaged with hands on experiments can help the connect the text presented to them with real life.

Teachers have the ability to influence the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. When going into the classroom, it is important to remember that it’s not just a job, it’s a passion that affects the lives of so many young adults. You have to remember to fall in love with your job every single day. The question that you have to ask yourself is, “How am I going to inspire others today?”


  1. Hi Emma! I really enjoyed reading your post. I had many exemplary teachers in high school, unfortunately none of them were in science. My high school science teachers were not able to keep me engaged in what they were teaching, which really affected how I felt about science and was honestly the reason I didn’t originally end up in a science field, even though I had wanted to go into science all my life. I definitely agree that to be exemplary teachers we need to engage our students in the material they are learning. How to you plan on doing this in your classroom? What strategies do you plan on using to keep your students engaged and interested in what they are learning? Overall, wonderful post! I loved your use of the chart showing the qualities of being an exemplary teacher and your use of visuals to support the points you were making!

  2. Thinking back to my years in high school I definitely had my fair share of exemplary teachers and those that were the complete opposite. I mentioned in class today how my chemistry teacher allowed my class to chose the experiments that we wanted to do. Not only did this allow us to do a hands-on activity, but it allowed us to discover new things on topics we were curious about. However, my history teacher junior year was the complete opposite. We would silently read different chapters and take notes on them. This put me to sleep and probably is a key reason why I don’t enjoy history. Being an exemplary teacher really does make a huge difference! What are some things that your teachers did that made them “exemplary?”

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