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A school science technician is responsible for the maintenance, handling, and distribution of equipment and reagents used inside a school science laboratory. In many cases, technicians are asked to assist and instruct students in laboratory procedures and necessary safety precautions. This often involves close coordination with teachers and other science department staff. A school science technician should also be ready to troubleshoot procedures that go awry and to provide the immediate care needed by students involved in laboratory accidents. On occasion, technicians might be asked to act as a substitute teacher in the absence of science professors.
The bulk of school science technician duties take place in the school laboratory, where the technician is responsible for the acquisition and upkeep of the different implements, chemicals, and other materials used in class. The technician should make sure that all tools used in the lab, from tongs to microscopes, are in good working order and well-calibrated. He also needs to make sure that all chemical reagents are in adequate quantity, and that all solutions are prepared according to instruction. It is the technician's job to care for all living organisms, such as bacterial cultures and animals for dissection, being used in the lab. Maintenance of additional teaching resources like slides and projectors also falls within a school science technician job description.
In many schools, a school science technician's responsibilities extend to an instructional role; the technician often assists teachers in demonstrating proper use of laboratory equipment, as well as the necessary safety procedures for lab work. This includes teaching students how to calibrate measuring devices, control heating implements, and wash equipment after use. Technicians should also teach students how to properly handle chemicals and organic specimens in order to prevent any possible harm. If a student gets into an accident in the course of a laboratory procedure, a school science technician should know how to administer first aid for the particular situation. In general, the technician should be available to offer advice for students having difficulty with their work.
School science technician requirements often include college education in a scientific field, as technicians are sometimes asked to assist with lectures. Although the level of knowledge needed to be effective at a technician's usual responsibilities is relatively lower than a professor's, technicians often find themselves having to explain important principles to students. A deep understanding of the subject matter will allow a school science technician to both be more effective at his job and more capable in helping students learn.
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