What does it mean to be an exemplary teacher?

What makes a teacher exemplary? First of all, what does “exemplary” even mean?

So, how does any teacher represent the “best of its kind”? Let’s break it down for science teachers specifically.

An exemplary science teacher…

  • 1. Does not hold rigidly to the textbook and/or simply rely on lectures to relay information and limits “traditional” classwork like notes, worksheets, and memorizing vocabulary.

Ok, sometimes lectures are necessary! But students will be bored and will stop engaging if all they’re doing in class is sitting still, listening, and taking notes.

  • 2. Find exciting and meaningful ways to teach curriculum!

Be creative with lessons! An example is when teaching about organelles, you can assign groups of students an organelle to research and create a social media platform as that organelle! The students can then teach their classmates about their organelle from their research and share their social media page!

  • 3. Provides authentic opportunities to engage in science in the classroom!

Science is about doing, and simply reading about famous experiments will not engage curiosity in students. If at all possible, let the students discover concepts through trial and error. Discoveries will be more meaningful if they are made by the student!

  • 4. Follows the curiosity of students and gets their input on what they want to learn about.

Students will engage more with what they are interested in! Branch out to what the students are curious about. When students feel heard in the classroom they are more likely to want to participate and learn.

  • 5. Encourages students to go out into the world and investigate what is going on in science! 

Don’t limit science to a classroom! Show students that there is real science going on in their communities and they can be involved! They can write letters to companies, volunteer for science-related causes, research a scientific concept that interests them, or engage with their communities with something like a community garden!

Remember, science class should be authentic! It is the job of exemplary science teachers to engage the curiosity of their students and show them how important and interesting science is!


  1. Hi!
    I really enjoyed reading your work! I love that you put an emphasis on providing students with authentic opportunities to explore the field of science. Pushing students to be curious is so important. We want to find ways as an educator to encourage our students to ask questions about science! Providing students with authentic learning opportunities will make them life-long learners!

  2. Hey Ms. Cahill,
    I love the idea of making a Twitter for an organelle and teaching away from textbooks. Including current scientific research in the classroom will help bring science to life instead of just making it seem theoretical. Are there ways that lectures can be interesting and engaging when they are necessary?

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