High School Teacher Job Description
Whether they work for a public or a private school, the job of a High School Teacher is to prepare and deliver lessons on specific subject areas to students in grades 9 through 12. Unlike elementary school teachers who typically teach many subjects, a High School Teacher is usually responsible for teaching only one subject, such as math or English, to different classes of students throughout the day. A High School Teacher develops lesson plans, assesses student performance and progress, meets with administrators and parents as needed, and might tutor students who need extra attention in a given subject area.
Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the job growth rate for High School Teachers is forecast to be 6 percent through 2024, it should be kept in mind that employment growth will vary greatly from area to area due to different state and local budgets. Student enrollment is another factor that would impact growth or decline in the need for High School Teachers.
High School Teacher Duties and Responsibilities
To successfully teach students at the high school level, High School Teachers must perform various tasks. We have reviewed several job listings for High School Teachers and found the following among the core duties and responsibilities of this profession.
Lecture to Students
The main responsibility of a High School Teacher is to develop and deliver lectures to students. Lectures should be engaging and well structured to encourage student participation and support student performance. High School Teachers should be able to lecture to both large and small classes. Adapting lessons for students of various learning levels is an important aspect of lecturing for High School Teachers.
Evaluate Student Performance
A High School Teacher must chart and report on each student’s ability to understand the material being taught and make recommendations for students who are not progressing according to state standards. This responsibility would include writing weekly or monthly reports and meeting with administrators and parents to design plans to help students master the subject in which they are struggling.
Oversee Classroom Management
Setting and enforcing rules in the classroom is another primary role of a High School Teacher. They must make all students aware of classroom as well as school policies regarding such matters as attendance, behavior and respect for teachers and peers. A High School Teacher must also administer punishment for students who do not adhere to these rules, such as assigning detention.
High School Teacher Skills
Successful High School Teachers will draw on strong written and oral communication, organizational and problem-solving skills. While it is important for High School Teachers to work well in a collaborative environment, such as with other teachers and school administrators, they must have the ability to work independently; for example, when designing lesson plans or grading papers. In addition to these general skills, many employers will tend to look for High School Teacher candidates to possess the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want High School Teachers with these core skills. If you want to work as a High School Teacher, focus on the following.
- Designing curriculum to meet state standards
- Mastering knowledge of specific subject areas in which you are teaching
- Adapting lesson plans as needed to address different learning levels
- Preparing class activities to supplement the material and engage students
- Observing individual student performance and progress and reporting observations to parents and school administrators
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your High School Teacher toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Attend professional development programs to enhance instructional capabilities
- Strong computer skills for using technology to support student learning
- Ability to work with a diverse student body
High School Teacher Resources
There are more great resources for people exploring a career as a High School Teacher. We scoured the Web to come up with the following opportunities to learn more.
On the Web
AAE Blog – Blogs from teachers covering personal thoughts, educational reform, teaching strategies, professionalism and more, hosted by the Association of American Educators.
High School Mediator – A blog offering personal insight into teen issues and teaching teens from an experienced High School Teacher.
A Teacher’s View – Tips and thoughts from a High School Teacher about the profession.
National Education Association (NEA) – Established in 1857, the NEA provides a vast resource for teachers of all levels and offers suggested lessons plans and teaching strategies in addition to information about educational legislation, advice and professional conferences.
Association of American Educators (AAE) – An educational advocacy organization, the AAE provides several teacher resources, such as information about teacher rights, grants, professional development programs and more.
National Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) – Designed for teachers and parents as well as administrators and other educational personnel, the PTA offers advocacy information, networking opportunities and state and national conventions and conferences.
How to Be Successful in Your First Year of Teaching High School: Everything You Need to Know That They Don’t Teach You in School – A comprehensive look at what to expect when starting out as a High School Teacher and what you can do to ensure success in this profession.
The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, 10th Anniversary Edition – A guide to how teachers can connect to their students and recapture the passion for teaching.
From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide for Beginner Teachers – A book that helps new teachers devise ways to build relationships with students and other teachers, how to overcome the challenges of teaching and achieve professional growth.
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