How to become a Teacher - Secondary

Secondary school teachers teach one or more subjects within the school curriculum to secondary students. Subject areas include English, mathematics, science, history, geography, drama, dance, art, music, health and physical education, design, information technology, languages other than English, and home economics.

Personal requirements of a Teacher - Secondary

  • Enthusiasm for, and ability in, your chosen subject area and teaching
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Able to communicate concepts and instructions clearly
  • Enjoy working with teenagers
  • Patient when dealing with students of differing abilities and cultures
  • Acceptance of the rights and needs of all individuals
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours

Education & Training for a Teacher - Secondary

To become a secondary school teacher you usually need to complete a four-year integrated course in which the subject area and teaching components are taught throughout (for example, a Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in visual arts). Alternatively, you can complete a degree in a subject area related to the current secondary school curriculum, followed by a postgraduate qualification in education (for example, a Graduate Diploma of Education). To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, geography and physics are normally required. Some courses may have additional requirements. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in subject areas relevant to the secondary school curriculum. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of a bachelor degree. Postgraduate courses in secondary education are available at a number of universities in Australia. They are also available by distance education. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information about teaching specialisations. See entries for Teacher - Art, Teacher - Music and Teacher - Physical Education for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Teacher - Secondary

Secondary school teachers may perform the following tasks:

  • prepare daily lessons and long-term teaching programs in accordance with state or territory curriculum and guidelines
  • teach using a variety of methods, including formal lessons, discussions, practical activities, experiments, projects, assignments and excursions, taking into account the differences between individual students
  • use information technology to assist with lesson preparation, teaching and reporting
  • set tests, exams, projects, assignments and homework; mark and correct assessments; and sort the results
  • evaluate and report on the progress of students, and discuss individual performance and problems with students and parents
  • establish and maintain good working habits and discipline in classrooms and throughout the school
  • supervise extra classes when other teachers are absent
  • supervise students in the yard during lunchtime and other breaks
  • carry out relevant administrative duties
  • attend staff meetings, educational conferences and other professional development activities
  • coordinate work experience and industry-based programs
  • participate in other activities in partnership with parents and the school community, including parent-teacher nights, school council and other committees
  • assist with organising sporting events, camping trips and other excursions
  • be involved in distance education (for example, teaching using radio and television transmission, correspondence, audiovisual and other multimedia resources)
  • coordinate administrative support programs and the work of non-teaching staff in schools
  • network with other teachers
  • work with other staff to revise the school’s policies and curriculum implementation to reflect changing student needs and government initiatives.

Working conditions for a Teacher - Secondary

Secondary school teachers need to continually update their subject knowledge and teaching methods through private study and professional development activities.

Employment Opportunities for a Teacher - Secondary

Secondary school teachers work in government and non-government schools. Some teachers are able to work in private practice, offering tutorial and subject-coaching services to students. Competition for positions in metropolitan government and non-government schools is strong. Teachers should be prepared to move to areas of need (rural areas, for example) to secure a job or a promotion to a senior position. Once employed, the prospects for advancement can be enhanced by obtaining higher qualifications. With further training and experience, a secondary school teacher may be promoted to a position of educational leadership, such as secondary school principal.

Specialisations:


Aboriginal Education Teacher (Secondary)

An aboriginal education teacher (secondary) teaches specially designed programmes to Indigenous secondary school students.


English Teacher - Secondary

An English teacher - secondary teaches students communication, writing and critical thinking skills in response to a wide array of literature and media. They guide students in understanding the different concepts and themes that are present in literary and media-based material and inform them of their historical context.


Mathematics Teacher - Secondary

A mathematics teacher - secondary teaches the fundamentals of mathematics in areas such as geometry, calculus, algebra and statistics. They help students to develop analytical skills through the application of mathematics in everyday life.


Science Teacher - Secondary

A science teacher - secondary teaches students the scientific principles of the world around them. They may also specialise in areas such as biology, human biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science.


Teacher Librarian - Secondary

A teacher librarian - secondary manages the school's learning resources in addition to undertaking the duties of a teacher. Teacher librarians play a key role in teaching cross-curricular skills in information literacy and provide professional development for other teachers. They help students to seek, critically evaluate, synthesise and present information using a range of resources and information technologies. They expose students to a variety of genres (writing styles) in print and digital formats and promote the best quality literature and authors to reflect different cultures and themes. Teacher librarians ensure the library resource centre is multi-functional and a focal point for student learning.

Additional Information
Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check. A National Police Certificate may also be required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. You will need to register with the teaching board in your state or territory. Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.
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