Chemistry teacher

I AM: Chemistry teacher

 

Alexander Lotz
Carl von Ossietzky Community School Berlin-Kreuzberg


Alexander Lotz studied chemistry and Biology to become a teacher. After graduating, he started his profession as a chemistry and biology teacher. He goes about his job with enthusiasm, currently at a community school in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Why did you choose your specialty? What attracted you to it?

In fact, I always wanted to be a teacher. I had a biology course myself at school. I was particularly interested in human biology topics. I knew that I definitely wanted to study Biology . When looking for a second subject, chemistry was an obvious choice. Especially because both subjects complement each other well. I also enjoyed the Chemical Education in high school. So I enrolled for the 2003/2004 winter semester for a teaching degree in Biology and chemistry at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

How did you start your career?

My career start was a classic entry, as it is usual for teachers. I started my preparatory service in Berlin and taught Biology and chemistry at a grammar school in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. I had really good instructors in both subjects who taught me a lot methodically and didactically. The colleagues at the school were very nice and helpful, even if their ideas about good teaching differed from what my instructors taught me during my traineeship. I have to admit that it was only now that I started to really get excited about chemistry. This was also difficult because of the pressure to perform.

Now I realize how exciting it is to teach chemistry.


Unfortunately, this was not shown to me at my university.

What are you doing today? What are your tasks as a chemistry teacher?

Today I am very enthusiastic about Biology and chemistry at a community school in Berlin-Kreuzberg. I'm also a class teacher in an 8th grade, which brings a lot of educational and organizational challenges with it. Many of my students do not have good learning skills: They cannot read and write well, and have little knowledge of the world. Some also lack the ability to regulate their behavior in such a way that they can easily take part in class in a group. But it can be handled well with a lot of patience, encouragement and a good dose of humor. I also have great colleagues and a good school management team who are always very supportive.

What knowledge and characteristics should you have for your professional field?

You should feel like working with children and young people, accompanying and supporting them. This requires a good knowledge of specialist science, pedagogy and didactics. You should also be well versed in school law. Good time management is also very helpful if you want to get as little stress as possible. Teamwork is becoming increasingly important, also in school. You cooperate more often with colleagues. And last but not least, you should learn to reflect on yourself and your lessons in order to assess whether you are actually helping the children learn. Only then will you be able to improve something and develop yourself continuously.

Describe a typical working day. Are there any unforeseen events that require your attention? How do you work with colleagues? Do you work in a team?

My typical working day usually starts the evening before: I make sure that I have prepared everything for the next day's lessons and also take care of the more complex lessons that are due in the coming days. My class day usually starts at 8 a.m. From 7:30 am I usually go to school to pick up copies and set up experiments. Depending on the schedule, I then have three to six hours of lessons in a row. Fortunately, I seldom have to change rooms because I have all of my specialist lessons in one and the same specialist room. This saves a lot of time in preparation and follow-up. You can either go home after class or go to the sport. I need that to compensate. Yoga is especially good for me. At least once a week, however, there are still conferences in the afternoon until 4 or 5 p.m. At home, I talk to parents on the phone and work on emails.

To what extent does your day-to-day work differ from that during your studies / doctorate? To what extent did your studies / doctorate prepare you for your current job?

I did a teaching degree for high school. In my studies, the main focus was on acquiring specialist knowledge as well as a little subject didactics and even less pedagogy. Even if a lot of it has little to do with the skills I need at my school today,

To be a good teacher and educator, studying is still an important foundation for my profession.


It is often more important than you think that teachers have a technical understanding of what they are teaching and that they have specialist knowledge beyond the subject matter. I notice this especially when, for example, I am teaching ethics and Physics in my class. If I am not very familiar with the content, I immediately notice how I am becoming didactically unsure and my teaching is suffering as a result. In addition, I learned at university how to process teaching content in a didactic manner and how to identify the interests of the students and make them the starting point for learning.

What do you love about your work? What do you particularly appreciate? Are there any special challenges?

I love working with children and young people. Above all, I always feel positively challenged to find out what the course content has to do with the world of my students. I keep asking myself what chemical phenomena children encounter in their everyday lives. What do you understand better when you have discovered the chemistry behind it and can explain it? That's why I really appreciate the educational freedom I have in this context. Even if it is a big challenge -

Adjusting the level of the lessons to the children's learning requirements so that they can master even the smallest next step is what I enjoy.

Has your area of responsibility changed over time?

Yes. Definitely. Since I've been teaching at a school in a socially deprived area, I have added an incredible number of tasks. Often it is a matter of absorbing the adverse learning conditions that result from the social origins of the children and young people. I see some of the parental responsibility, but some parents can no longer offer their children more support. The causes are often social inequalities and injustices, which can be structural.

What are career opportunities in your professional field?

As a teacher there are opportunities to make a Career in school. That means you can fill functional positions (specialist management, department management). You can move up to the school management or become active in the training of prospective teachers. Of course, you can also do a doctorate.

If someone wants to pursue the same career path, what would you advise them to do?

You should be aware that the teaching profession is a wonderful job that is incredibly versatile and is characterized by a high degree of responsibility and creative freedom. At the same time, however, it is also a very demanding job that can be stressful, especially outside of the holidays, so that little time and thoughts remain for things outside of school. You need an awareness of personal limits, good time management and good physical and mental balance.

Note: For reasons of readability, the simultaneous use of gender-specific language forms is not used. All personal names apply to all genders.

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last modified: 10.05.2021 15:09 H from