This study aims to explore how mentor teachers and the school environment helped pre-service teachers develop their pedagogical skills, and thereby, closing the gap between theory and practice. The study is based on a survey research design consisting of 75 participants consisting of third and final year students at a research and teaching university in South Africa. The participants completed a Google survey questionnaire where responses were given on a five-point Likert scale from strongly disagree, to strongly agree. The results indicate that although most pre-service teachers received the necessary guidance in theory and practical lessons as well as assessment, a significant proportion of the participants were not adequately assisted. A large proportion of the schools did not have laboratories, laboratory equipment, and chemicals. The study has practical implications for the professional development of teachers of science before service. There is dire need for all science pre-service teachers to be adequately developed by selecting the appropriate context in which the teaching practice is done to develop the knowledge, science specific pedagogical skills, and values necessary for successful entry into a professional career Furthermore, mentor teachers need to be properly oriented about their mentoring roles, and the school management team must assist in monitoring the mentoring process.