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Become A High School Teacher

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Working As A High School 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

  • $49,107

    Average Salary

What Does A High School 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 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 Teacher jobs

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Real High School Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
High School Teacher Holland Christian Education Society Holland, MI Sep 23, 2015 $117,310
High School Teacher Mt. Edgecumbe High School Sitka, AK May 30, 2015 $79,248
High School Teacher Alhambra Unified School District Monterey Park, CA Aug 01, 2015 $78,815
High School Economics Teacher Lycee Francais de San Francisco San Francisco, CA Jul 09, 2016 $77,003
High School Literature Teacher La Fondation Du Lycee Francais International de Washington Bethesda, MD Dec 09, 2016 $74,377
High School Teacher Irwin County Schools Irwinton, GA Jan 27, 2016 $72,000
High School Economics Teacher Le Lycee Francais de San Francisco San Francisco, CA Apr 22, 2016 $71,849
Teacher of Chinese for High School Language Class Great Neck Union Free School District Great Neck, NY Aug 31, 2015 $71,780
High School Chemistry Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Leonardtown, MD Aug 17, 2015 $70,613 -
$86,283
High School Teacher Liberty Union High School District Brentwood, CA Dec 15, 2015 $68,209
Middle School & High School Teacher, Spanish Immersion Progra Fayette County Public Schools Lexington, KY May 16, 2016 $66,714
High School Spanish Teacher ICEF Public Schools Los Angeles, CA Jul 09, 2016 $65,800
High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 19, 2015 $65,281
High School Teacher, Computer SCI, Robotics & ENG Dept Head Lotus School for Excellence Aurora, CO Oct 02, 2015 $64,550
High School Teacher-Special Education Elite Consortium Group, Inc. Covina, CA Jul 15, 2015 $54,262
High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 19, 2015 $53,761
High School Teacher Park Hill School District CO Oct 05, 2015 $53,596
High School Physics Teacher Claiborne County School District Port Gibson, MS Feb 08, 2016 $53,500
High School Spanish Teacher Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four Cordova, SC Jun 30, 2016 $52,592
High School Spenish Teacher Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools Los Angeles, CA Aug 23, 2016 $52,530
High School Teacher New Design Charter School Los Angeles, CA Sep 15, 2015 $52,530
High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 19, 2015 $52,175
High School Chinese Teacher Board of School Trustees of Marion Community Schools Marion, IN Oct 01, 2015 $45,689
High School Chinese Teacher Board of School Trustees of Marion Community Schools Marion, IN Jan 05, 2015 $45,689
High School Chemistry Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Leonardtown, MD Aug 30, 2016 $45,430
High School Chemistry Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Leonardtown, MD Aug 17, 2015 $45,430 -
$62,993
High School Chemistry Teacher Waco Independent School District Waco, TX Jul 12, 2016 $45,300
High School Chemistry Teacher Waco Independent School District Waco, TX Sep 14, 2016 $45,300

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Top Skills for A High School Teacher

ClassroomManagementCurriculumDevelopmentMathematicsWeeklyLessonPlansUSHistoryAlgebraIIChemistryBiologyLanguageArtsPhysicsSocialStudiesVarsityLiteratureGeometrySpecialEducationIEPAdvisorEconomicsGirlsGeography

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Top High School Teacher Skills

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Mathematics
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Cultivated and applied effective classroom management techniques.
  • Maintained professional competence by attending staff development programs, curriculum development meetings and other professional activities.
  • Participated in school wide curriculum development for English and Mathematics.
  • Create weekly lesson plans, including individualization per matrix requirements.
  • Completed coursework and professional development in School Building Leadership and AP US History curriculum.

Top High School Teacher Employers

High School Teacher Videos

English Teacher (High School), Career Video from drkit.org

High School Teacher Career Information : How to Become a High School Teacher

High School Teacher Career Information : High School Teacher Salary

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