When first approaching the idea of becoming a teacher, many wonder what it takes to focus on an individual subject, like English. The truth is, almost every teacher has a subject focus, though the qualifications can vary greatly from state to state.
Serving as an English teacher is a job of increasing importance in education, as school districts begin to shift some focus away from math and the sciences and back towards language skills. Learn what it takes to become an English teacher, the importance of this job and how you can get licensed and certified to teach in your home state.
What Does an English Teacher Do?
Language is at the very core of civilization, and without solid language skills it can be very hard to be successful in our world. As an English teacher you’ll be responsible for instructing students in reading, speech, and composition skills to ensure that students can effectively understand, conceptualize and communicate ideas.
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Requirements for English Teachers
Serving as an English teacher requires a deep and thorough understanding of all aspects of English, from basic grammar, syntax and sentence structure to great works of literature in the language. You’ll also need to understand the way language changes and evolves based on common usage. English teachers require excellent communications and listening skills.
They must have a great deal of patience, and a strong ability to plan and take a detailed approach to delivering lessons and assessing student progress. They must know when and how to adapt their teaching style to the needs of students and how to collaborate with fellow staff and administrators.
The English teacher also must have a solid knowledge of the history of literature, from early classics through modern bestsellers, and know how to apply this knowledge to current educational practices. Finally, they must be culturally sensitive and able to adapt the teaching of language to those students for whom English is not their mother language.
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Becoming an English Teacher
Becoming an English teacher requires walking the path to certification laid out by your specific state. However, federal mandates require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a classroom-based student teaching internship. Your education will include courses in educational theory and in the specific teaching of English, be it writing, literature or ESL (English as a Second Language).
Your state will also require completion of certification exams in the area of specialization. For most, a Master’s-level education is optimal to pursue a successful path to teaching. Again, the specific requirements for licensure will vary from state to state.
Job Outlook and Earnings
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), teachers earn on average between $55,860 and $72,470 annually, based on whether they teach elementary, middle school, high school or in higher education. Job prospects are good in the field as well, and could see as much as a 13% increase by 2024.
If you are considering becoming an English teacher, check out your state requirements and get started on your path today!