High school, or secondary school teachers, instruct in specific subjects and also help students deal with social interactions and life skills, as well as serving as mentors while kids work through the most difficult years of their lives. Learn how you can become a high school teacher, what your job responsibilities and requirements will be, and the pathway to certification in your state.
The Job of a High School Teacher
High school teachers need to have expertise in a specific subject area, which they will deliver to students between grades 9 and 12. They plan and teach lessons within the specific curriculum guidelines of their school district. While they primarily teach in classrooms as a group, teachers may also be called upon to tutor in one-on-one or small group sessions when students face difficulties. They could teach multiple grades in their subject at different levels.
Outside the classroom, teachers will have to plan their lessons, take meetings with other school officials and with parents, will need to chaperone school events like dances and field trips, and must grade papers and address problems with students ranging from learning difficulties to emotional problems a student might be having.
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Teachers need to be advocates not just for education, but for their students. They have to have a dedication to what they do and a deep caring and commitment towards encouraging student success. At their best, teachers don’t just deliver content, but build a passion for the subject in their students.
What Skills and Knowledge Does a Teacher Need?
In order to perform their duties properly, teachers must above all else have expertise in their chosen field. Whether it’s history, math, English, a foreign language, art, music, drama or any other subject, the teacher must have advanced knowledge in order to pass it on to their students.
In addition, teachers must be outstanding communicators. They must know how to deliver information in a way that makes it easily absorbed. They must also be excellent listeners, able to hear when students are having problems and assess the meaning behind questions. They must also be able to effectively address issues with school personnel, students and parents as needed.
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Teachers must be excellent planners and have outstanding attention to detail. They must constantly keep abreast of the latest technologies and best practices in the field and be adaptable to changing their style to meet student needs. Finally, they must constantly advocate for their field and their students, ensuring that the mission remains focused on kids and learning.
Becoming a High School Teacher
The path to becoming a high school teacher takes commitment and work. At very least, you will need to complete a four-year bachelor’s program in education and a student teaching intern program as well as getting certified to teach in your field, according to your state’s standards. Most teachers pursue a master’s degree in teaching or education, which further increases your knowledge and marketability.
As a teacher you can expect to earn, on average, around $57,000 per year based on experience and qualifications, according to numbers from the BLS. The profession should grow by roughly 6% over the next decade.
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