Secondary school teachers focus their efforts on teaching students in high school, usually ranging from ninth or tenth grade to senior year. Most teachers have a particular subject they specialize in such as English, math, biology, psychics, chemistry or art and many programs are designed to prepare students for post-secondary education or careers in addition to instilling in them a basic educational foundation.
In general, high school teachers are responsible for preparing and presenting lessons to students that will allow them to grasp the subject or material at hand. Teachers will work with students as a group or from time to time one-on-one if students need extra help understanding new or confusing concepts. Teachers must administer tests and homework and keep track of the students’ grades and progress as the class goes along. Meetings with parents and other staff members to discuss students are held on a regular basis to ensure that all students are getting the attention and resources they need. Many teachers chose to, or are required to, supervise after school activities and to take students on educational field trips related to their class materials.
Students or professionals wishing to start a career as a secondary school teacher will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to be considered. These degrees are generally in teaching, education or child development though this is not always required. An increasing number of schools are looking for teachers with master’s degrees, so additional education is a great advantage to those looking to advance in their careers as teachers. Since high school teachers generally have a specific topic they teach, they must have completed a significant amount of courses in this area of study to be qualified to teach it. Teachers must also have completed some sort of teaching training program in which they were supervised by a qualified teacher and have a state board granted teaching license.
Those wishing to pursue a career in secondary school education will need to have a good deal of patience, be highly motivated, hard working, organized and decisive. Teachers must be able to maintain control of their students without being disrespectful and must learn to work with students from a wide variety of economic, religious and racial backgrounds. Good communication skills are required, as teachers must not only talk with students but with parents and administrators as well.
The salary of secondary school teachers can vary widely based on location, type of school, level of education and what subject the teacher chooses to focus on. While a hefty salary is not a guarantee, there is a large demand for secondary school teachers, especially in certain subjects. In many areas of the country, finding a job teaching high school students may be considerably less difficult than other fields.
Those who have a dedication to teaching a particular field and who are willing to be patient, hard working role models for their students will enjoy working as secondary school educators.