The role and responsibilities of secondary school teachers have undergone a significant evolution. Historically, teachers have been viewed as purveyors of content knowledge and academic skills, but teachers in the early twenty-first century have also become ambassadors to multicultural communities and promulgators of democracy. As expectations for teacher performance have increased, so too has the status of teaching–the term teaching profession has become commonplace.
Conventionally viewed as dispensers of knowledge, teachers are increasingly perceived as facilitators or managers of knowledge. They are often thought to be co-learners with their students. Few modern teachers would try to claim intellectual hegemony in the classroom; such a claim would not stand the challenge of increasingly sophisticated students. There is too much to know and too many sources of knowledge outside the classroom that can easily be brought to bear within school walls by students themselves. Teachers teach, of course, but they do not simply dispense information to their students. Teachers are also intellectual leaders who create opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and what they know how to do.
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A career as a secondary school teacher offers you the chance to teach a subject you love and to engage students in learning for their future.
Secondary school teachers support, observe and record the progress of pupils aged 11 to 18. Teaching the national curriculum, you will plan lessons in line with national objectives, with the aim of ensuring a healthy culture of learning.
Teachers must keep up to date with developments in their subject area, new resources, methods and national objectives. The role involves liaising and networking with other professionals, parents and carers, both informally and formally.
As a secondary school teacher, you’ll need to:
- prepare and deliver lessons to a range of classes of different ages and abilities
- mark work, give appropriate feedback and maintain records of pupils’ progress and development
- research new topic areas, maintaining up-to-date subject knowledge, and devise and write new curriculum materials
- select and use a range of different learning resources and equipment, including podcasts and interactive whiteboards
- prepare pupils for qualifications and external examinations
- manage pupil behaviour in the classroom and on school premises, and apply appropriate and effective measures in cases of misbehaviour
- undertake pastoral duties, such as taking on the role of form tutor, and supporting pupils on an individual basis through academic or personal difficulties
- communicate with parents and carers over pupils’ progress and participate in departmental meetings, parents’ evenings and whole school training events
- liaise with other professionals, such as learning mentors, careers advisers, educational psychologists and education welfare officers
- participate in and organise extracurricular activities, such as outings, social activities and sporting events
You will need to have:
- a respect and fondness for children
- excellent communication skills for working with children, other teachers and parents
- good listening skills
- the capacity to learn quickly
- strong organisational skills
- the ability to inspire and enthuse children
- energy, resourcefulness, responsibility and patience
- a caring nature and an understanding of the needs and feelings of children
- the ability to work independently, as well as being able to work in a team
- a sense of humour and the ability to keep things in perspective
- an ability to be creative
- a good knowledge of the subject in which you are going to teach.