What Do Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Do?
Secondary school teachers typically work in public and private schools to instruct secondary-level students in at least one subject. A small number work for educational support services, colleges and universities, and for state and local governments. They teach through lectures, discussions and hands-on work. Some of these teachers specialize in a particular field, such as English or math. These teachers also collaborate with other teachers and often lead extracurricular activities. In the United States, the employment forecast for secondary school teachers shows six percent job growth through at least 2022. Annual job openings are numerous, to the tune of nearly 31,300.
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Skills and Abilities
To teach effectively at the secondary school level, you need a firm grasp of curriculum and instruction approaches for individual students as well as classes. You must also know how to measure these approaches. Fluency in English is mandatory, and you need knowledge of computers and electronics. Your skills include selecting the appropriate learning strategy for a particular situation, active listening and critical thinking. You have keen problem sensitivity, meaning you recognize when a situation is wrong or about to go wrong.
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Duties
As a secondary school teacher, you have many duties. They start with establishing classroom management procedures; you can’t teach effectively without them in place. Common duties in your job include:
- Setting goals and objectives for lessons, and clearly communicating these objectives to students
- Adhering to state or school requirements for lessons
- Adapting materials such as tests and your teaching approach to meet the needs of students with diverse abilities
- Assigning in-class work and homework
- Gathering and preparing materials for lessons and activities
- Giving and grading assignments and tests to assess the progress of students
- Following relevant laws and policies to maintain accurate student records
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Tools and Technology
The types of tools and technology you use depend in part on the subject or subjects you teach. For example, science teachers use microscopes, while math or geometry teachers use pencil compasses. No matter the subject, however, you must be well-versed in instructional software and office suite software as well as the Internet and email. Many teachers work with digital or video cameras at some point, and your classroom will likely have a desktop computer.
Education and Training for Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
The huge majority of secondary school teachers have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A small percentage of the teachers have a doctorate degree, while others have some college or an associate degree. In general, public schools require a degree and licensure for permanent employment, but private school requirements vary. It is helpful and sometimes required to have a degree in education as well as a degree or strong background in the subject you want to teach.
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Salary
Pay for secondary school teachers depends in part on the highest level of education attained as well as years of experience. Some private schools also pay higher than public schools. In the United States, the median salary is $56,300. The upper 10 percent of teachers bring home more than $96,000 a year, while the bottom 10 percent earns about $37,500.
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Jobs by Geography
States with the most secondary school teachers are Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. However, the states with the most secondary school teachers per thousand jobs are Vermont, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Maine and Texas. Secondary school teachers in New York, New Jersey, California, Alaska and Massachusetts are paid the most.