How to Become a High School Teacher

If you enjoy working with young adults and have a natural knack for teaching others new skills or information, you might wonder how to become a high school teacher. High school teachers typically manage classes of ninth-through twelfth-grade students. In the secondary education system, classroom instructors often teach a limited number of classes in a single subject, such as English or mathematics. These teachers may see as many as four or even eight separate classes of students each day, and must relate to and educate all of them.

Though they may have to meet government curriculum guidelines and prepare students for standardized tests, high school teachers often develop their own lesson plans and assignments. They assign coursework and homework as well as tests to evaluate students’ understanding of course material. Within reason, they determine grading systems and classroom rules for their students. High school teachers must balance their time well to instruct entire classes of students as well as working with students on individual levels to improve their grades and skills.

As a professional educator, high school teachers are required to have earned a formal college-level education themselves. Typically, aspiring teachers will pursue a bachelor’s degree in education, during which they will learn successful methods of classroom instruction and management as well as taking courses in child psychology. The education major often requires student-teaching experience as well as regular coursework. Education courses for secondary school often differ from those for primary school, because high school teachers will manage their classrooms and deal with problem students differently than kindergarten or middle school teachers would. People who have already completed a bachelor’s degree but later decided to pursue teaching can enroll in an “alternate route” certification program that takes the place of undergraduate education courses.

In many states, teachers must also have a background in the subject in which they wish to teach. Because most high school teachers work in public schools, they must meet state requirements to attain high school or secondary school certification. They must obtain licenses to teach in a public school, and must be willing to continue their education throughout their careers to maintain their licenses.

High school teachers earn a median salary of $53,230 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though they may spend time at home grading papers or developing lesson plans and assignments, they often enjoy convenient hours, with holidays off and workdays ending earlier than many other industries. Many schools are in session from September to June or August to May, so teachers enjoy the same two month break as students. High school teachers often find work in the education system personally rewarding. If you enjoy the challenge of communicating with adolescents, give good instructions and have a lot of patients, knowing how to become a high school teacher could be your first step toward a fulfilling new career helping young adults prepare for college, the workplace, and life after graduation.

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