High School Teaching Jobs

High school is an unforgettable part of a person’s life. Teachers at this level often inspire students who are making huge life choices about higher education and careers.

With a wide variety of sports and extra-curricular activities, high schools form a strong sense of community.

Secondary teacher jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in their subject area and teacher certification. Most teaching programs at colleges and universities offer degrees in education for the various subjects; history, English, science, mathematics, and foreign language are common for secondary teaching. These degrees provide potential teachers with the certification and education needed.

Secondary teaching degrees typically allow a teacher to instruct grades 7-12 in a specific discipline. Therefore, middle schools and high schools can both hire secondary teachers.

The average salary for a high school teacher is US$54,460. However, the pay varies widely based on experience and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the bottom 10% of secondary educators earn around $34,280 while the top 10% earn $80,000.

Teachers at the secondary level are encouraged to use teaching methods that vary from the traditional high school method of lecturing. Cooperative learning activities, hands-on projects, and technology-centered lessons are some of the various strategies secondary teachers should utilize.

The amount of daily preparation for secondary teachers varies greatly. For example, in a larger school a secondary history teacher may teach seven different sections of tenth grade history a day. In comparison, at a smaller district a social studies teacher may have to prepare for ninth and tenth grade social studies in addition to electives like psychology and sociology. A teacher may become tired of teaching the same class all day, yet teaching a variety of classes makes the preparation workload greater.

Some secondary schools follow a traditional schedule of seven to eight class periods around forty minutes each. Alternatively, block scheduling is used. This method has teachers instructing around four classes a day. With the longer block of time, more hands-on and in-depth learning can occur. Students switch to a new schedule of classes at the end of the semester.

Secondary teachers are typically in charge of a homeroom class also. While this class may not meet every day, homeroom is a time for handling paperwork and other school related proceedings like fundraisers, clubs, and activities. In addition, a teacher may be in charge of a study hall for a period during the day. She must maintain an orderly atmosphere and encourage good study habits.

A strong classroom management plan with clear expectations and consequences is needed. Oftentimes, a secondary teacher can base his plan off of existing school policy. Consequences like detention and suspension are common at the secondary level.

Middle school and high school students are going through a period of rapid development and change.

Some are frequently more focused on social aspects of school instead of academics. A secondary teacher can expect to deal with some difficult behaviors.

Secondary teachers are able to instruct students in a subject area which they likely are passionate about and have a keen interest in. Their love for the subject causes them to continually study and learn more. It is rewarding for secondary teachers to observe their pupils also fall in love with a given subject or topic.

Since secondary students are close to graduation, their teachers are able to help guide them into making career and higher education choices. Letters of recommendation for jobs, college scholarships, and college are often requested from secondary teachers.

In addition to instruction, secondary teachers must develop and implement curriculum, establish parent communications, grade and record student work, and meet with administrators and department teachers. Secondary teachers often run extracurricular activities to supplement their pay and form a strong sense of community within the school.

Visit the following discipline-specific resources to learn more about secondary education.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

National Council of Teachers of English

National Science Teacher Association

National Council for the Social Studies

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