Think your job stinks? Try teaching biology in Kansas

Popular Science magazine says only human lab rat, manure inspector positions are worse in the field

Teaching biology in Kansas is a job only slightly better than inspecting manure or being a human lab rat, according to the new issue of Popular Science.

The magazine ranked the Kansas biology teacher as the third worst job in science on its annual ranking.

“We’re just a national joke,” said Janet Waugh, a member of the state board of education.

The board’s conservative majority supports changing the state’s science standards to allow for standards criticizing evolution. The board is expected to adopt the new standards on Nov. 8.

The Kansas biology teacher job is just better than the one where workers have to inject a nerve agent into their eyes for scientific research, the report said. But teaching biology in Kansas is worse than being an orangutan-urine collector, a semen washer or a volcanologist who must face the wrath of a volcano.

“They’re poking fun at Kansas,” said Lynda Allen, Lawrence school district’s math and science director. Biology teachers “know they have a tough job, but teaching is tough.”

Popular Science magazine recently ranked Kansas biology teacher as one of the worst jobs in science. Lawrence High School teacher Bob Hubert thinks that the rankings are a big exaggeration. Hubert is pictured at his home Monday with his dog Shea.

Bob Hubert, a Lawrence High teacher, who is among about a dozen in Lawrence to hold the “worst” science job, laughed at the magazine’s report.

“That’s a big exaggeration,” he said.

Hubert said the Lawrence school district hasn’t changed the standards, and he continues to teach the current standards, including evolution.

“I love teaching AP (advanced placement) biology at the high school,” he said.

Waugh said she believed that if the standards were changed, Kansas teachers would continue teaching “good science.”

“I think it just speaks volumes to what the mainstream science community thinks about what we’re doing with the standards,” Waugh said of the magazine article. “This is extremely sad for Kansas that we’re being made a mockery of.”

Beats volcanology

Is this the third-worst science job?Job: Kansas biology teacher.

Responsibilities: To teach youngsters the science of life or living matter. The key issue of origin of life could be changed by the state school board on Nov. 8.

Experience: At least a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.5 grade-point-average; must pass both a content test and a test of pedagogy.

Pay: A new teacher in the Lawrence school district makes $29,550 annually.