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Become A High School English Teacher

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Working As A High School English Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $45,000

    Average Salary

What Does A High School English Teacher Do

High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Duties

High school teachers typically do the following:

  • Plan lessons in the subjects they teach, such as biology or history
  • Assess students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach students in full class settings or in small groups
  • Adapt lessons to any changes in class size
  • Grade students’ assignments and exams to monitor progress
  • Communicate with parents about students’ progress
  • Work with individual students to challenge them, to improve their abilities, and to work on their weaknesses
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules and administrative policies
  • Supervise students outside of the classroom—for example, at lunchtime or during detention

High school teachers generally teach students from the 9th through 12th grades. They usually specialize in one subject area, such as math, science, or history. They may teach several different classes within that subject area. For example, a high school math teacher may teach courses in algebra, calculus, and/or geometry.

High school teachers may teach students from different grades throughout the day. For example, in one class they may have students from the 9th grade and then in the next class they may have 12th-grade students. In many schools, students are divided into classes on the basis of their abilities, so teachers need to change their courses to match the students’ abilities.

High school teachers see several different classes of students throughout the day. They may teach the same material—for example, world history—to more than one class if the school has many students taking that subject.

Some high school teachers instruct special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

When they do not have classes, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, and meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers of English as a second language (ESL) and teachers of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) work exclusively with students who are learning the English language. These students are often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). These teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and help them with assignments for other classes.

Students with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders often are taught in traditional classes. Therefore, high school teachers may work with special education teachers to adapt lessons to these students’ needs and to monitor the students’ progress.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information and to expand a lesson taught in class.

Some high school teachers coach sports and advise student clubs and other groups, activities that frequently take place before or after school.

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How To Become A High School English Teacher

High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history. Teachers typically enroll in their institution’s teacher preparation program and take classes in education and child psychology as well.

In teacher education programs, prospective high school teachers learn how to present information to students and how to work with students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.

Some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification.

Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools typically seek high school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and a major in a subject area.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

High school teachers typically are awarded a secondary or high school certification, which allows them to teach the 7th through the 12th grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to requiring a bachelor’s degree, states require teachers to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. States also typically require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge in the subject they will teach. Some states require teachers to have a minimum grade point average as well. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.

Often, teachers are required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either type of program.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and gain experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with other teachers and special education teachers. In addition, teachers need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. High school teachers must be patient when students struggle with material.

Resourcefulness. High school teachers need to explain difficult concepts in terms students can understand. In addition, they must be able to engage students in learning and adapt lessons to each student’s needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to be mentors or lead teachers. In these positions, they often work with less experienced teachers to help them improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals. Becoming a principal usually requires additional instruction in education administration or leadership. For more information, see the profiles on school and career counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, and elementary, middle, and high school principals.

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High School English Teacher Career Paths

High School English Teacher
English Instructor Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
English Instructor Lecturer Adjunct Professor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
English Instructor Adjunct Instructor Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Instructor Team Leader Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Project Manager Principal
High School Principal
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Manager Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Team Leader Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Administrator Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Research Associate Professor
Associate Dean
11 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
ESL Teacher Professor Associate Dean
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Program Coordinator Educational Programs Coordinator
Education Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
ESL Teacher Program Coordinator Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
ESL Teacher Education Consultant Student Dean
High School Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Education Director Director Of Instruction
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Leader Director Director Of Quality
Chief Program Officer
11 Yearsyrs
ESL Instructor Lead Teacher Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
ESL Instructor Faculty Associate Dean
Instruction Dean
9 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
French Teacher 4.1 years
Journalism Teacher 3.9 years
Literature Teacher 3.3 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
Humanities Teacher 2.5 years
7th Grade Teacher 2.2 years
Top Careers Before High School English Teacher
Teacher 29.9%
Tutor 4.6%
Internship 3.7%
Instructor 3.3%
Volunteer 2.0%
Top Careers After High School English Teacher
Teacher 29.9%
Instructor 4.7%
Tutor 4.1%
Internship 2.9%
Volunteer 2.3%
Director 2.3%

Do you work as a High School English Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$45,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
St. Paul's School
Highest Paying City
Linden, NJ
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a High School English Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a High School English Teacher in the United States is $45,118 per year or $22 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $63,000.

Real High School English Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
High School English Teacher Fairmont Schools Inc. Anaheim, CA Aug 28, 2010 $84,273
High School English Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Lexington Park, MD Aug 17, 2015 $73,805 -
$86,283
High School English Teacher St. Mary's County Public Schools MD Jul 10, 2011 $63,453
High School English Teacher Fairmont Schools, Inc. Anaheim, CA Aug 28, 2013 $62,506
High School English Teacher Fairmont Schools Inc. Anaheim, CA Aug 28, 2010 $58,603
High School English Teacher Greg Mathis Charter High School North Charleston, SC Jul 01, 2015 $57,120
High School English Teacher Baker Valley Unified School District Baker, CA Aug 19, 2014 $53,757
High School English Teacher The Wheeler School Providence, RI Mar 15, 2012 $52,900
High School English Teacher Evangeline Parish School Board Pine Prairie, LA Jan 24, 2013 $48,418
High School English Teacher Little Rock School District Little Rock, AR Oct 01, 2011 $47,905
High School English Teacher East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Baton Rouge, LA Jul 22, 2014 $47,600
High School English Teacher East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Baton Rouge, LA Jul 28, 2014 $47,600
High School English Teacher Norfolk Public Schools Norfolk, VA Aug 15, 2012 $46,232
High School English Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Lexington Park, MD Aug 17, 2015 $44,678 -
$86,283
High School English Teacher East Carroll Parish School Board Lake Providence, LA Sep 05, 2014 $44,578
High School English Teacher The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 01, 2014 $43,700
High School English Teacher Fairmont Schools, Inc. Anaheim, CA Aug 29, 2010 $43,680
High School English Teacher East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Baton Rouge, LA Aug 30, 2010 $43,536
High School English Teacher McCurdy School of Northern New Mexico Espanola, NM Jul 22, 2012 $43,291
High School English Teacher Warren County Schools Warrenton, NC Aug 01, 2012 $43,100
High School English Teacher Royal Independent School District Brookshire, TX Dec 19, 2009 $42,354
Advanced Placement English Teacher-High School NUR-UL-Islam Academy, Inc. Cooper City, FL Oct 02, 2013 $41,110
High School English Teacher The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 01, 2010 $41,000
High School English Teacher The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 01, 2013 $40,204
High School English Teacher The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Mar 09, 2015 $40,204
High School English Teacher Yuma Private Industry Council, Inc. Yuma, AZ Oct 01, 2012 $40,050
High School English Teacher Yuma Private Industry Council, Inc. Yuma, AZ Feb 14, 2016 $40,008
High School English Teacher Greg Mathis Charter High School North Charleston, SC Jul 01, 2012 $40,000
High School English Teacher The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education Aug 16, 2011 $39,600

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Top Skills for A High School English Teacher

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Literature
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Time management and classroom management skills to utilize every minute to enhance student academic and personal success.
  • Served as active member of District Curriculum Development Committee.
  • Developed curriculum for community of rural students incorporating World, American and Appalachian literature and folklore.
  • Designed and implemented lesson plans using both traditional methods and several newer
  • Constructed critical thinking and learning enhancement language activities employing ESL/CLAD strategies.

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Top 10 Best States for High School English Teachers

  1. Alaska
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. Illinois
  6. New York
  7. Oregon
  8. Michigan
  9. Rhode Island
  10. California
  • (26 jobs)
  • (348 jobs)
  • (172 jobs)
  • (472 jobs)
  • (1,149 jobs)
  • (334 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (661 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (3,120 jobs)

High School English Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

61.7%

Male

28.0%

Unknown

10.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.4%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.8%

French

13.2%

Japanese

6.0%

German

5.7%

Portuguese

4.6%

Mandarin

3.9%

Chinese

3.9%

Korean

3.6%

Italian

3.6%

Arabic

3.2%

Russian

2.8%

Turkish

1.1%

Dutch

1.1%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Amharic

0.7%

Cantonese

0.7%

Hindi

0.4%

Hungarian

0.4%

Welsh

0.4%

Bosnian

0.4%
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High School English Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.2%

Grand Canyon University

6.6%

Liberty University

6.3%

National University

5.9%

New York University

5.5%

Walden University

5.5%

Wayne State University

5.1%

Michigan State University

4.8%

University of North Texas

4.4%

Northern Arizona University

4.4%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.0%

San Francisco State University

4.0%

Illinois State University

4.0%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.0%

University of South Florida

3.7%

University of North Florida

3.7%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.7%

Capella University

3.7%

University of Florida

3.7%

University of Georgia

3.7%
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Majors

English

24.7%

Education

14.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

9.6%

Elementary Education

9.5%

Educational Leadership

7.7%

Secondary Education And Teaching

6.7%

Business

2.8%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.8%

Special Education

2.8%

Writing

2.7%

Communication

2.2%

School Counseling

2.1%

Teaching English As A Second Language

2.0%

Linguistics

1.6%

Psychology

1.6%

Literature

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

History

1.4%

Educational Technology

1.4%

Law

1.4%
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Degrees

Masters

44.5%

Bachelors

31.2%

Other

12.3%

Doctorate

5.3%

Certificate

4.5%

Associate

1.7%

License

0.4%

Diploma

0.3%
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