High School Teacher

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High School Teacher


High school teachers spend all day, every day, trying to get teenagers interested in things like math, science, literature and art. They teach classes in history, they teach classes in health. High school teachers are vibrant, excited people who love learning, love students, and want to share their knowledge and skills with young adults just set to make a mark on the world.

High school teachers are highly trained specialists in two or three subjects. They may teach all of their subjects, or just one, to students between the ages of 13 and 18. They prepare lectures, tests, reading lists and assignments in their subject matter in creative, innovative ways, in an effort to spark the imaginations and minds of their students. If the teacher is truly respectful of the students, usually the lectures and ideas take off.

As well as holding classes, high school teachers take students on field trips, coach teams, arrange for camping trips and weekend enrichment programs, direct plays, choirs and bands. They help students who are having trouble with subjects, and assist with yearbooks and poetry collections. They work long hours to enrich the lives of their students both in the classroom and outside it. They are leaders and motivators who also mark tests, correct homework, and meet with parents. Hopefully, due to their dedication and devotion, students will get all As , do their homework perfectly, and the meetings with their parents will be nothing but positive.

Of course, that isn't always the case. A teacher can be motivated and driven, but if a student isn't willing to try, there is nothing the teacher can do. Still, teachers don't give up very easily, and it is their tenacity and stamina that has resulted in many smart, motivated graduates currently climbing their way up success' ladder all over the nation.
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  Interests and Skills  
Successful high school teachers are organized, passionate people, who are as both flexible and firm, driven and relaxed. They should have a genuine interest in young people, as well as a true respect for them. They should be creative, imaginative, and resourceful, with strong leadership qualities. A good sense of humor, loyalty, and a good set of morals will also come in handy. They should be decisive, and have problem-solving skills, especially under pressure. They are effective time managers, with fantastic communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as listening skills. They are open to other cultures and beliefs, and must be good motivators. They are also fit, with enough stamina to keep up with schools full of teenagers, parents, and administrative staff who all have problems, concerns, and stories to share.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Prepare subject material for presentation to students according to an approved curriculum
  • Teach students using lectures, discussions, audio-visual presentations, lab experiments, and field trips
  • Assign and correct homework
  • Prepare, administer, and correct tests
  • Evaluate progress of students and discuss results with students, parents, and school officials
  • Participate in staff meetings, educational conferences and teacher training workshops
  • Identify students' learning needs
  • Provide a stimulating learning environment
  • Help students learn appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • Supervise extra-curricular and after-school activities
  • The typical day for a high school teacher is long and varied. Most spend some time working with students in classrooms, as well as individually. They also stay after school to direct plays, coach teams, and prepare and organize for the next day's lessons. They also prepare tests and mark assignments. They do not get to travel, unless it is on a field trip, and they will only work outdoors if they teach a class like physical education.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • High school teachers teach in large urban schools, smaller rural schools and schools everywhere in between. They teach students in classes that range from 15-40 students. They work in classroom settings, science labs, shop classes, and kitchens, depending on the subject matter. They work indoors, and spend long hours at the school, especially if they are involved in after-school activities. They usually work in public schools, however some work at boarding schools, private schools, public schools, and alternative high schools. They usually work alone in their classroom, unless they have a teaching assistant or a student teacher.

  Long Term Career Potential  
High school teachers can become vice-principals, principals or superintendents. They can turn to politics, get into teaching special education or English as a second language, or go in to counseling.

  Educational Paths  
There are a few routes you can take to become a teacher. One way is to complete an undergraduate university degree (three to four years of study focusing on the subjects you would eventually like to teach, like French or biology), and then attend teachers college (one to two years of study). Teacher's college exposes you to in-class as well as on-the-job training.

Another way is by combining your academic studies with your professional teaching training. After completing high school, you begin an undergraduate program, and after one or two years of study, you apply to the Faculty of Education (keep in mind though, that in some places you can enter the Faculty of Education directly out of high school). For the next three years, you study education in addition to continuing study in your initial undergraduate degree. At the end of the three-year period, you receive a bachelor of education degree and your teaching certification, and you're set to teach!

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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