As is the case for any type of career, you need to do your research if you want to be a teacher, and you need to do this before you map out how you are going to make it to the top. After all, you are going to need to attain qualifications, as well as experience. Plus, you need to have a thorough understanding of the different jobs in education so you can carve out the best route for you. So, with that being said, continue reading to find out everything you need to know about becoming a teacher.
In this guide, we are going to take a look at becoming a middle or high school teacher. However, there are, of course, many other types of teaching jobs out there, so you should do your research about all of your options. Some of the other jobs you may want to consider include adult and community education, higher education, further education, private tuition, supply teaching, and primary teaching.
Teaching in middle or high schools
A middle or high school teacher will be responsible for supporting, observing and record the progress of pupils who are aged between 11 and 18-years-old. Middle school includes 7th and 8th grades, and 6th or 9th, depending on your state. High school is for grades 9 through to 12. You will need to teach the national curriculum. This means planning lessons that fall in line with the national objectives. Your role means you need to keep up to date with the national standards, your subject area, as well as any new methods and resources. Moreover, your role will also include networking with carers, parents, and other professionals, both formally and informally.
What are your responsibilities going to be as a middle or high school teacher?
You are going to have a number of different responsibilities if you choose a career as a middle or high teacher. This includes all of the following:
- You will need to undergo frequent observations.
- You will partake in regular in-service training as part of your continual professional development.
- You will organise and participate in extracurricular activities, including sporting events, social activities, and outings.
- You will support and supervise the work of newly qualified teachers, trainee teachers, and teaching assistants.
- You will liaise with other professionals, including the likes of education welfare officers, educational psychologists, careers advisors, and learning mentors.
- You will also communicate with carers and parents regarding the progress of your pupils.
- You will participate in whole-school training events, parents’ evenings, and departmental meetings.
- You will undertake pastoral duties, for example, you may need to take on the role of form tutor.
- You will support children through any personal or academic difficulties.
- You will manage pupil behaviour on school premises and in the classrooms.
- You will apply effective and appropriate measures when a child misbehaves.
- You will prepare students for external examinations and qualifications.
- You will use a different range of learning equipment and resources, from interactive whiteboards to podcasts.
- You will devise and write new curriculum materials, stay up to date on the subject you teacher, and research new topic areas.
- You will maintain records of the progress and development of each student.
- You will mark student’s work and give them appropriate feedback.
- You will prepare and deliver lessons to a selection of classes consisting of different abilities and ages.
Another point of concern for aspiring teachers is how much money they will make. This all depends on what part of the country you are teaching in. Indeed, you may even decide to go overseas. Plus, if you work for a free school or an academy, they will set their own working conditions and pay, so it can differ from place-to-place. It is also worth pointing out that you can get donations from the likes of Teacher Funder. This is especially beneficial for those teachers who are passionate about their jobs and go that extra mile to ensure their students are doing to the best of their ability.
What hours will you work as a middle or high school teacher?
When deciding whether this is the right career for you, you also need to consider the working hours and work conditions. A lot of people assume that working as a teacher is good because you get “lots of holidays.” However, teachers spend a huge amount of time working outside of school hours because they need to plan lessons, mark work, and such like. Officially, there are 39 weeks of the year that are allocated for teaching. This means that teachers get 13 weeks of holiday per annum. Nonetheless, as mentioned, a lot of this time is used for preparing, planning, and marking, so do keep this in mind.
In terms of school hours, they do vary. This, again, depends on the school you work for. In most schools, teachers will teach five periods per day. There are opportunities for career breaks and part-time work if this is something that appeals to you.
What else should you expect if you decide to become a middle or high school teacher?
Last but not least, let’s finish off by running through a few other things you should expect if you do decide to become a middle or high school teacher. Firstly, you may occasionally have to stay away from home or go on overseas trips as part of staff development opportunities or if you are going on a trip with pupils. This can be an exciting opportunity for any teacher. There are often overseas trips at a lot of schools.
It is also important to note that in a lot of schools teachers do not have a base classroom. This means you will often be taking equipment and books from room-to-room between lessons. You can also improve your employment prospects if you are geographically mobile. There are jobs available all over the country, and further afield too, so you will never be short of opportunities. However, if you are willing to travel or even relocate for your work, you will find some great opportunities in this field.
Finally, it is also important to point out that you are going to have to give up extra hours of your time. This is for the likes of parents evenings as well as school inspections. Furthermore, you will be expected to help in the likes of field trips, drama classes, after-school sports and clubs, as well as breakfast clubs, so do keep this in mind. Of course, you will not need to be a part of everything, but you will need to be there for the meetings and be there to help for some extra curricular activities. The way in which this is determined will depend on the school you work for.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding working in the education sector as a teacher. Of course, there are other ways you can work in the education field without being a teacher. You may, for example, decide to go into education publishing. This is why it is so important to carry out considerable research beforehand so you can really get to grips with your day-to-day responsibilities, salary, and such like, so you have all of the information required to make the best possible decision for you and your future.
By Robert Thompson, International Writer