Secondary school teacher job profile (2022)

As a secondary school teacher you can teach a subject you love and engage pupils in learning and preparing for their future

As a secondary school teacher you'll teach pupils aged 11 to 18. Specialising in a particular subject, you'll plan, teach and assess lessons in line with curriculum objectives.

You'll aim to ensure a healthy culture of learning and will support, observe and record pupils' progress.

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.

Responsibilities

As a secondary school teacher, you'll need to:

  • prepare and deliver lessons to 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
  • supervise and support the work of teaching assistants, trainee teachers and newly qualified teachers (NQTs)
  • organise and participate in extracurricular activities, such as outings, social activities and sporting events
  • undergo regular observations and participate in regular in-service training (INSET) as part of continuing professional development (CPD).

Salary

  • New entrants to the profession in England start on the main salary scale, which rises incrementally from £25,714 to £36,961. Enhanced pay scales apply for teachers working in or near London.
  • In Wales, new entrants start on a salary of £27,018, rising incrementally to £37,320.
  • Salaries for new entrants in Northern Ireland start at £23,199, rising incrementally to £33,906.
  • In Scotland, the new entrants' starting salary is £27,498, plus any payments made through the Preference Waiver Payment (PWP) scheme, rising incrementally to £41,412.
  • After gaining experience and expertise, there are opportunities to move up into the role of lead practitioner in England and Wales. In Scotland there are opportunities to move into chartered and then principal teacher roles. Salaries for head teachers can rise to £100,000.

Academies, free schools and independent schools set their own pay and working conditions.

Teachers may move into Key Stage or year leader, mentoring and management roles. Management roles in particular attract considerable salary increases.

Details about pay are available from the teaching unions and the Department for Education (DfE) Get Into Teaching website (for England).

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Teachers are in school for 39 weeks of the year. Hours vary between schools but are usually from 8.30am until 3.30pm or 4pm. Most teachers are in school before the school day starts and remain after school is finished.

Teachers are entitled to a minimum of 10% of timetabled teaching time for planning, preparation and assessment (PPA). In Scotland this is a minimum of seven and a half hours.

Teachers also often spend time at home planning and preparing lessons and assessing pupils' work.

Part-time work and career break opportunities are possible. Supply teaching is also an option. For more information on working hours, see the NASWUT, The Teachers' Union.

(Video) Top 20 Secondary School Teacher Interview Questions and Answers for 2022

What to expect

  • You won't necessarily have a base classroom, and may have to carry books and equipment from room to room between lessons.
  • It's likely you'll have to give up extra hours of your time for parents' evenings, Ofsted inspection preparation, breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and sport, drama and field trips.
  • Jobs are available in most areas, especially in towns and cities, throughout the UK.
  • There may be occasional trips with pupils, or staff development opportunities, which involve staying away from home and/or overseas travel.

Qualifications

To work as a secondary school teacher in a maintained school (England and Wales), you must have a degree and achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) by completing a period of initial teacher training (ITT), (initial teacher education (ITE) in Wales). QTS is awarded by the Teaching Regulation Agency (England) or the Education Workforce Council (EWC) (Wales). You must also register with the EWC to teach in Wales.

Independent schools, academies and free schools may employ teachers without QTS but, in practice, this is uncommon.

In order to achieve QTS you can take an undergraduate secondary BA/BSc Hons with QTS. Training focuses on gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject and being able to pass this on effectively to secondary school pupils. You will spend a lot of time in the classroom learning from experienced teachers.

However, if you already have a degree, you can gain QTS in a number of ways. These include:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) - available at many universities, colleges of higher education and teacher training led by schools. Training led by schools will offer QTS and most offer the academic qualification of a PGCE.
  • Salaried teacher training - options for receiving on-the-job training while earning a salary include postgraduate teaching apprenticeships, School Direct (salaried), Teach First (for graduates with a 2:1 or above) and the salaried PGCE delivered by The Open University, Wales (Wales only). In most, but not all cases, a PGCE accredited by a higher education institution (HEI) will be awarded.

Teacher training providers set their own entry requirements. The minimum requirements are at least a GCSE grade C/grade 4 (grade B in Wales) in English and mathematics, as well as a degree or equivalent in a subject relevant to your chosen area of teaching. Your pre-university education may also be taken into account.

Many institutions offer subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses in several subjects if your degree doesn't have enough content in the subject you want to teach.

Current priority subjects are:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • computing
  • languages
  • mathematics
  • physics.

Other popular subjects include English, music, design and technology (DT), drama, RE, art and design, geography, history, business studies and PE.

Most applications for PGCEs are made through UCAS Teacher Training in the autumn before you wish to commence training. The DfE is setting up a new Apply for Teacher Training service, which will eventually replace UCAS Teacher Training. Until then, both application services will run side by side. Competition for places is high and early application is advised.

The Assessment Only (AO) route leading to QTS is possible for candidates who have a degree alongside a substantial amount of teaching experience in the UK, but do not have QTS. This involves submitting a portfolio of evidence of your work and a day-long assessment where you are observed while teaching at your school.

For more information about obtaining QTS, explore your options at Get into Teaching.

In Scotland, you'll need a degree and a Teaching Qualification (TQ) gained through undertaking a programme of ITE to qualify as a teacher. You must also register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). All teacher training programmes are university-led and you can take either a four-year undergraduate programme or a one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). Applications are made via UCAS Undergraduate for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

To teach in Northern Ireland, you must have a degree and a recognised teacher training qualification, gained by taking either a four-year undergraduate BEd or a one-year PGCE, and must register with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). Applications for the PGCE are made direct to the course provider, usually in November or December.

For information on teacher training in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales see:

(Video) The First Day of High School: Establishing Classroom Expectations and Building Relationships

If you trained in Scotland or Northern Ireland and want to teach in England, you'll need to apply for QTS. Information for teachers who've qualified outside the UK is available at GOV.UK - qualify to teach in England.

Find out more about funding for teacher training.

Skills

You'll need to have:

  • respect for children and an interest in helping them develop both academically and as people
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills for working with children, other teachers and parents
  • good listening skills
  • the capacity to learn quickly
  • strong organisational and time management skills
  • the ability to inspire and enthuse children
  • energy, resourcefulness, responsibility and patience
  • dedication, resilience and self-discipline
  • a caring nature and an understanding of the needs and feelings of children
  • the ability to work independently, as well as part of a team
  • a sense of humour and the ability to keep things in perspective
  • imagination, creativity and a sense of humour
  • good judgement and an analytical mind
  • a good knowledge of the subject you're going to teach.

You'll also need to satisfactorily pass checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service for England and Wales (or the equivalent check in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

To find out more about the attributes you'll need, see essential skills for secondary school teachers.

Work experience

Having classroom experience will help you make a strong application to initial teacher training. You can use the Get school experience service to request school experience in a secondary school. Many secondary schools are happy to accept volunteer work experience placements. Find out more about volunteering in schools.

If you have other experience with children outside of the classroom, for example through sports, play schemes, summer camps, youth clubs, tutoring or mentoring, this may strengthen your application, as it will show you have a genuine interest in working with children.

You'll need to be familiar with the national curriculum for your subject and be able to show enthusiasm, motivation, commitment and strong communication skills.

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.

Employers

Many secondary school teachers work in state schools, which receive funding either from the local authority (LA) or directly from government. These include:

  • community schools (also known as LA maintained schools) - follow the national curriculum
  • foundation schools and voluntary schools - funded by the LA but have more control over how they do things and may be supported by religious groups
  • free schools - funded by government on a not-for-profit basis but aren't run by the LA and don't have to follow the national curriculum
  • academies and multi-academy trusts - receive funding directly from the government, are independent from the LA and are run by an academy trust with more freedom and the option to follow a different curriculum
  • grammar schools - run by either the LA, a foundation body or an academy trust (pupils are selected based on academic ability).

You can also work in independent schools, which charge fees, rather than being funded by government, and don't have to follow the national curriculum. Independent schools must be registered with the government.

Some secondary teachers take on supply work through an agency or arrange supply work directly with schools. Although less stable than a permanent contract, the flexibility of supply work may suit some people.

Once trained and experienced, some teachers look for positions overseas. Many countries expect a teacher to have qualifications gained in that country, but sometimes there are reciprocal agreements in place.

Some teachers go on exchange programmes to other parts of the world, such as the USA and Australia, and some undertake voluntary work in developing countries through organisations such as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

(Video) Resume for teacher job ( for government and private teacher )

Opportunities are also available through international schools and in schools for the families of the armed forces.

Look for job vacancies at:

Specialist teaching recruitment agencies also handle vacancies. These include:

Many LAs send recruitment leaflets to universities and most have useful recruitment websites. Vacancies may occur at any time, but the peak time for jobs is between February and June.

Discover how to structure a teaching CV.

Professional development

NQTs in England and Wales must serve an induction period, normally of one year. During this time you must demonstrate that you meet the Teachers' Standards (England) or Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership (Wales). You'll be monitored and supported, have a reduced timetable and a designated induction tutor and work on areas identified for development during your initial teacher training/education.

You can carry out your induction period in state schools (except those in special measures). You can also undertake induction in independent schools, free schools and academies, although they don't have to offer it. It's also possible to carry out your induction period through supply teaching. For more information, see the National Education Union - Your guide to induction.

In Scotland, most NQTs join the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS), a guaranteed one-year probationary teaching post with a Scottish local authority school. There is also a flexible route available. The majority of teachers then apply to advertised vacancies or work in supply posts.

For information on the induction period in Northern Ireland, see the Education Authority.

In-service training is available and teachers are encouraged to pursue continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to their own responsibilities and the development needs of the school. Training takes place in-house on teacher training days or at regional training centres run by local authorities. Training topics include:

  • curriculum issues
  • new initiatives
  • pastoral care
  • special needs
  • subject leadership
  • target setting and assessment
  • technology - including child protection and online exploitation training.

Some teachers pursue higher qualifications, such as an MEd or MBA, on a part-time basis, depending on their career aims. Professional qualifications for school managers are also available.

Career prospects

Career progression may be through a specialist curriculum or pastoral role, or by moving into management. You may become a head of department, head of year or coordinator of a cross-curricular area, such as special needs or careers education, as well as subject or professional mentors for trainee teachers on placement.

You could take on additional responsibility as a leading practitioner, in which you would share excellent classroom practice, knowledge and expertise with colleagues in your own school and other schools in the locality. You would receive additional pay and increased non-contact time for this.

There is a suite of national professional qualifications (NPQs) available at different levels, including middle leadership, senior leadership, headship and executive leadership, designed to support the professional development of teachers in England. See the List of national professional qualifications (NPQs) providers.

(Video) How to Become a Secondary School Teacher

Organisations such as the Ambition Institute and Education Scotland also run training programmes for aspiring leaders. Leadership can include roles ranging from responsibility for a year group or key stage to deputy or head teacher positions.

As a head teacher, you'll have a great deal of influence and responsibility for areas such as pupils and staff, financial management, the school's systems and processes, standards and ensuring continuous improvement.

Some teachers move out of schools and into further or higher education or other related jobs, such as:

  • advisory or consultancy roles
  • education officer - often employed at museums, art galleries and zoos
  • examination board administration
  • initial teacher training
  • local education authority work
  • Ofsted inspection.

There are some opportunities for self-employment, which include private tutoring, writing educational materials or running a small private school.

Find out how Dina became a maths teacher at BBC Bitesize.

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FAQs

What are the duties of a secondary school teacher? ›

What does a secondary school teacher do?
  • lesson planning and preparation, including creating and selecting learning materials.
  • direct contact time with pupils.
  • checking and assessing work.
  • attending staff meetings.
  • liaising with parents/carers and support professionals such as social workers.

What qualities do you need to be a secondary school teacher? ›

5 Qualities of a Highly Effective Secondary Educator
  • Knowledgeable About Their Subject. ...
  • Able to Incorporate Practical Application. ...
  • Effective Discipline Strategies. ...
  • Interest in Building Relationships with Students. ...
  • Positivity.
1 Nov 2016

What are the roles and responsibilities of a teacher? ›

The responsibilities of a teacher
  • Planning and preparing lessons. ...
  • Encouraging student participation. ...
  • Researching and developing new teaching materials. ...
  • Research and implementing new teaching methods. ...
  • Marking student work and recording performance. ...
  • Setting assessments and overseeing examinations.
27 Aug 2021

What is teacher in secondary? ›

A secondary school teacher, more commonly called a high school teacher, instructs students in ninth through twelfth grade in both public and private educational institutions. The primary objective of these teachers is to educate students and prepare them for college and/or the job market.

What are 5 responsibilities of a teacher? ›

And by the end, you'll be able to enhance the quality of education you deliver to the students.
  • Mentor. During the formative years of students, teachers play the role of a mentor. ...
  • Mediator. ...
  • Resource House. ...
  • Morale Booster and Motivator. ...
  • Demonstrator. ...
  • Continuous Learner. ...
  • A Good Listener. ...
  • Participant.
1 Feb 2022

What are 10 responsibilities of a teacher? ›

The following 10 roles are a sampling of the many ways teachers can contribute to their schools' success.
  • Resource Provider. Teachers help their colleagues by sharing instructional resources. ...
  • Instructional Specialist. ...
  • Curriculum Specialist. ...
  • Classroom Supporter. ...
  • Learning Facilitator. ...
  • Mentor. ...
  • School Leader. ...
  • Data Coach.
1 Sept 2007

What 3 important qualities must teachers have? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What are the five skills of teaching? ›

While there are many teaching skills that can be beneficial in the classroom, here are a few top skills to have:
  • Communication. ...
  • Project management. ...
  • Problem-solving. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Technical.
29 Jun 2021

What are the 7 roles of a teacher? ›

The primary roles of a teacher are:
  • Providing mentorship. ...
  • Inspiring learners. ...
  • Nurturing healthy curiosity in learners. ...
  • Creating meaningful learning experiences. ...
  • Leveraging technology to support learning. ...
  • Mediating and liaising. ...
  • Researching learning strategies.

How do I describe my teaching job on a resume? ›

A typical resume sample for this position mentions duties such as implementing behavior guidelines, preparing class activities, using various teaching methods, assigning homework, giving tests, and monitoring student academic performance. They may also be required to manage classroom materials and inventory.

What are 4 responsibilities of a teacher? ›

Teacher Responsibilities:

Organizing supplies and resources for lectures and presentations. Delivering personalized instruction to each student by encouraging interactive learning. Planning and implementing educational activities and events. Ensuring your classroom is clean and orderly.

Why do I want to teach secondary? ›

You'd inspire and motivate young people to study and learn. You'd help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they'll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school. You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools.

What is the difference between a teacher and a secondary teacher? ›

Unlike primary teachers who typically teach one group of students the whole school year, secondary teachers are usually responsible for teaching several different groups a day. Secondary teachers tend to specialize in one subject, making it a great teaching job if you're passionate about one particular area.

What is the salary of a secondary teacher? ›

These tutors earn monthly basic salaries of Sh34,955-49,694.

What is the most important job of a teacher? ›

Teaching is the most important job in the world. The quality of any nation's education cannot exceed the quality of its educators. Each teacher has the opportunity to shape and impact tens of thousands of young lives over the course of their career.

What is the best teaching strategy? ›

Student Centred Inquiry

This strategy is a great way to generate curiosity among young learners and engage an inactive class. Through such an approach, children develop skills of researching, co-relating, and reflecting on information through independent exploration and engagement with the content.

How do you motivate your students? ›

Tips On How To Motivate Your Students
  1. Become a role model for student interest. ...
  2. Get to know your students. ...
  3. Use examples freely. ...
  4. Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. ...
  5. Set realistic performance goals. ...
  6. Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. ...
  7. Be free with praise and constructive in criticism.

How do you handle students in class? ›

Try out different means such as politeness, warning, trying to genuinely understand the students' problems in following rules etc. Don't expect only good things from them. They are more likely to misbehave as they too might have a preconceived notion about you from what they would have heard from their seniors.

What is your weakness as a teacher? ›

So as a recap, the four answers that you can give when being asked, what are your greatest weaknesses, are, I focus too much on the details, I've got a hard time saying no sometimes, I've had trouble asking for help in the past, and I have a hard time letting go of a project.

What is good teacher qualities? ›

Students look up to their teachers and honesty is one of the important qualities that students need. Honesty towards the work that you do, towards your students and colleagues is extremely important. Honesty is often a package, it comes along with qualities such as responsibility, courage, and reliability.

What is the full meaning of a teacher? ›

a person who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession; instructor.

Which qualifications are needed for teaching? ›

You may follow one of two routes in becoming a teacher, namely: a four-year Bachelor of Education degree (B. Ed.); a three-or four-year Bachelor's degree, followed by a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Once completed, both routes lead to classification as a professionally qualified teacher.

What are 3 duties of a teacher? ›

Duties and Responsibilities of a Teacher
  • To plan and prepare appropriately the assigned courses and lectures.
  • To conduct assigned classes at the scheduled times.
  • To demonstrate competence in classroom instruction.
  • To implement the designated curriculum completely and in due time.

How do I write a profile for a teacher? ›

How to write a teacher profile
  1. State who you are. In one sentence, describe who you are. ...
  2. Define your objective. Clearly state what you are seeking from the teaching position. ...
  3. Display your personality. Highlight the job traits that suit the role and make you different from the crowd. ...
  4. Showcase your skills.
1 Nov 2021

How would you describe yourself as a teacher in a CV? ›

How to write a teacher profile
  1. State who you are. Start off your teacher profile by stating who you are. ...
  2. Add your objective. ...
  3. Describe your personality. ...
  4. Highlight your skills. ...
  5. Make it unique. ...
  6. Format your profile. ...
  7. Review and edit.

Who is a teacher in simple words? ›

A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue, via the practice of teaching.

Why should I be selected for teaching? ›

By becoming a teacher you'll get job satisfaction that few will experience. Other than parents, teachers have arguably the biggest influence on a child's life. The visible results you'll see from pupils are guaranteed to send you home with a sense of pride!

Why did you choose teaching? ›

Why become a teacher? It's a great opportunity to use your creative skills to help children discover that learning is critical. You set them up to reach their goals and to make a positive difference in the world. Being able to attend school is a game-changer for children, and teachers play the most significant role.

Can a secondary teacher teach in primary? ›

Yes, although this move is rarer. Moving from primary to secondary teaching is intuitive enough in that you move from knowing a vast array of the basics into a specialism in a particular subject. To move from secondary to primary you need to move away from a specialism and get well acquainted with an entire curriculum.

What are the career opportunities for teacher at secondary level? ›

Here are some of the most popular teacher careers with their primary duties and average salaries in India:
  • Teaching assistant.
  • Elementary school teacher.
  • Preschool teacher.
  • High school teacher.
  • Special education teacher.
22 Nov 2021

What is better primary or secondary teaching? ›

The advice generally given to those debating whether to teach primary or secondary education is that primary is for those who like teaching children and secondary is for those who like teaching their subject.

What is the highest-paid type of teacher? ›

Professor

When you are looking for the best-paid teaching jobs for your area of interest or specialized skill, then you may consider working as a professor in a college or university. A college professor prepares course material, teaches students in a classroom environment, and grades student work.

Where is teacher salary highest? ›

Pennsylvania, California and New York have the highest average teacher salaries in the country, compared to all other occupations.

What is the highest teacher salary? ›

Highest-Paid Teachers By State
RankStateAverage Teacher Salary
1Maryland$61,254
2Hawaii$59,222
3New York$57,919
4California$57,193
46 more rows
2 Aug 2022

What are secondary duties? ›

Secondary Duties means duties assigned and agreed to in writing by a pilot to undertake special projects in accordance with an approved duty statement, provided they are not duties ordinarily assigned to administrative staff.

What are secondary responsibilities? ›

This can also refer to things that are not important at all. If you have a primary duty, that's what you need to do first. Secondary duties must be done next, since second is a form of the number two. You could say your secondary goal at a job is to get experience, if your main goal is to make money.

What are secondary job examples? ›

Secondary employment includes, but is not limited to, working for another employer, self-employment, the private practice of any profession, occupation or trade, consulting services, being involved in a family business, volunteer work and teaching.

What is secondary in resume? ›

Secondary skills on a resume are any skills that improve your ability to perform a certain job, but aren't a requirement for the role. This is contrasted with primary skills, which are the skills you can't do the job without.

What is main responsibility? ›

A key responsibility area, or KRA, is a comprehensive list of goals and duties a company expects its employees to complete. It details what the employees do, how they should do it and how the company measures these goals.

What are the good qualities of a teacher? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What is primary and secondary responsibility? ›

Thus, primary responsibilities are the areas where one needs to strive towards excellence. (ii) A secondary responsibility of a person in a role is a responsibility that is needed or desirable for better fulfilment of primary responsibilities, but is not a goal in itself.

What are the three types of responsibilities? ›

3 Types Of Responsibilities All Business Owners Must Meet
  • Environmental responsibilities. ...
  • Compliance responsibilities. ...
  • Customer responsibilities.
1 May 2019

What are the 4 levels of responsibility? ›

Corporate social responsibility is traditionally broken into four categories: environmental, philanthropic, ethical, and economic responsibility.
  • Environmental Responsibility. ...
  • Ethical Responsibility. ...
  • Philanthropic Responsibility. ...
  • Economic Responsibility.
8 Apr 2021

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