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How to Get a Job as a High School Teacher

Schools want dynamic, knowledgeable educators who are attuned to the needs of individual students. “Schools do not just want someone who is an excellent lecturer or has great ‘platform’ skills,” wrote National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel in an email. “Secondary students don’t want someone to stand there and lecture.” While shaping and presenting yourself as the ideal candidate is important, how you convey that information to prospective schools is equally crucial. “On securing a secondary school position, I would never advise anyone only to go through HR,” Van Roekel writes. “Prospective secondary teachers should target the principals and department chairs of the schools where they would like to teach and let them know why they would like to teach there.” Further, Van Roekel advises prospective candidates to seek out opportunities to become part of the community before setting their sights on employment within the school of their choice.

Interview Questions Submitted by Real High School Teachers

"How do you expect to deal with the diversity of our students?" - Liberty Union High School District Teacher Candidate (Location Unknown)

"What would you do if you had a discipline problem in the classroom?" - Iredell-Statesville School System High School Spanish Teacher Candidate (Location Unknown)

"Do you have your own website? - Jefferson Union High School District Teacher Candidate (Location Unknown)

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility poor Below Average
Stress Level fair Average
Flexibility good Above Average

What is the Job Like?

A secondary school teacher can have a fulfilling job by virtue of his or her responsibility to influence the futures of young students. Teaching students in their formative teenage years, these educators play a key role in their students’ outlooks and career prospects. Instructors also experience a level of autonomy in the classroom that can cause feelings of isolation or empowerment. This difference usually stems from conditions established by the school — public or private. Support for teachers from administrators and parents can differ sharply from school to school. As the country’s population continues to increase in ethnic, racial and religious diversity, teachers will have to bridge cross-cultural gaps. Effectively imparting their educational expertise will demand a greater understanding of their students’ backgrounds. “It’s not enough to know your subject,” Van Roekel writes. “You have to know how to teach it.”

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Last updated by Harriet Edleson.

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