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A high school teacher is someone who prepares and teaches academic, technical, vocational or specialized subjects at public and private secondary schools, typically from grades 9-12. The subject taught could be science, language, math, history, art, english, drama, or music. In a typical high school, where there are rotations of five to six classes everyday, a teacher could potentially have more than one hundred different students to teach each and every day.
A high school teacher can have a very fulfilling career by virtue of the responsibility they have to influence the future of young students. They play a key role in a student's outlook and career prospects. As ethnic, racial, and religious diversity continue to increase, teachers need to be able to bridge any cross-cultural gaps. This can be done by having an understanding of the students' backgrounds, and by being able to teach in the most effective way possible.
A high school teacher will use textbooks, visual aids, projects, and informative lesson plans to keep students involved and engaged. Through examinations and coursework, the teacher will evaluate a student's progress in a subject. Beyond the curriculum, high school teachers sometimes advise on career and college plans, and may play the role of counselor if there are any issues or problems the students want to talk about. They may also organize and chaperone field trips, lead extracurricular activities, supervise certain areas when needed, and at times make administrative and budget decisions.
There are times when students are difficult to deal with, and teachers must exhibit a great deal of patience. However, this is overshadowed by the many wonderful student accomplishments that they are able to observe, which earns great satisfaction.
A high school teacher is typically employed by public and private secondary schools. Although standing in front of a classroom is a big part of a teacher's day, their responsibilities extend far past that into the lives of their students and the community. They may help a student after class, cheer on the school's football team, mark papers well into the night, or attend PTA meetings. They attend conferences, network with other teachers, and engage in continuing education to stay at the forefront of their profession.
The educational requirements for high school teachers vary between public and private schools:
For public schools - an aspiring high school teacher must obtain a bachelor's degree (from an accredited program) in secondary education with an area of concentration in the subject that they wish to teach. Alternatively, they may major in their content area and minor in secondary education. They must also obtain a state-issued license, often acquired through a teacher-education program that can be taken concurrently as part of the curriculum.
For private schools - the requirements are noticeably less, since most private institutions lack the licensing requirements of public schools, but they typically still require all teachers to possess a bachelor’s degree.
Several of my friends suggested that I write about a typical day at school. Typical? Any teacher reading this is probably chuckling right now. Is there ever such a day?
I currently teach the ninth grade English component of a world studies course in the humanities department of a very large suburban high school near Washington D.C.
Being a high school teacher is not for everyone. While you may get summers off, you have to put in a lot of time and effort to get there. Just becoming qualified to become a high school teacher can take a lot of work, but if you have a passion for a specific subject area and a desire to make that subject come alive for teenagers, the job may be worth the effort.
Aaron Kurtz walks us through the ins and outs of being a high school teacher.