If you are interested in how to become a high school English teacher, it’s important to understand what a high school English teacher can bring to a community. High school English teachers instruct students in English language and literature. They foster a safe environment in their classrooms and help influence their student’s decisions. 

The primary goal of a high school English teacher is to help prepare students for the future and educate students in English and literature. There are a variety of requirements for those who want to become a high school English teacher, however, there is also great reward. In this article, we will be covering how to become a high school English teacher, what responsibilities high school English teachers have, and the potential job outlook for high school English teachers. 

Reasons To Consider Becoming a High School English Teacher

There are varying reasons to consider before becoming a high school English teacher. While it can be a very rewarding career, it is not for everyone. A person who is pursuing this occupation should love learning, as well as, the English language. They should know it well enough to be able to communicate and teach it to others. 

It can be a rewarding career because teachers have the chance to impact young minds and inspire them to do great things. The day-to-day can vary for a teacher, as they work in dynamic environments that are constantly changing. English teacher jobs are typically safe, the career has a clear path, and there are many great benefits. 

High School English Teacher Job Definition 

The typical high school English teacher job definition leans heavily on the fact that the individual teaching must have a thorough understanding of sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and literature. They should be able to teach creative composition, which consists of prose, poetry, short stories, and narratives. They may also be required to teach lessons that are more technical, such as writing news articles, reports, journals, and essays. 

Overall, high school English teachers should be able to help a student’s oral and written communication and comprehension flourish. They should challenge them to think critically, as well as, advance their problem-solving skills. English teachers in K-12 public or private schools are also responsible for making lesson plans that fit into the approved curriculum set by the school. They should pay attention to their student’s performance and offer support when needed to fit the state standards. 

High School English teacher Responsibilities

High school English teacher responsibilities may vary, however, below is a list of the main responsibilities that will be expected across the board: 

  • Organize classroom lectures and coursework – As a teacher, you should make sure lectures and coursework are aligned with standards set by the district and school. 
  • Prepare materials and activities – In order for the classroom to run smoothly and for students to benefit the most, it is important to prepare materials and activities beforehand. 
  • Assign homework and interesting exercises – Make learning fun! Assign homework and exercises to students that are not only effective but also engaging. 
  • Identify students with special requirements and create individualized plans – Not all students learn the same. For those who may have special requirements, work with them to come up with study plans so they don’t fall behind or feel discouraged.
  • Determine exam and assignment grades – You must set a standard for the classroom and a grading rubric that takes different criteria into account. You should be able to grade assignments and exams on an equal basis for students. 
  • Provide feedback based on workload and classroom behavior – Not only do assignments matter, but how a student is acting during class also matters. Make sure you can provide students with feedback on how they show up and act in a classroom setting. 
  • Keep a record of students’ attendance and grades – In order to track a student’s progress, it’s important to record their attendance and grades. Even if they are achieving good grades, they should still be expected to show up and participate in class. 
  • Research new language teaching methods – As a teacher, you should constantly be pushing yourself to evolve your ways of educating. Discover new language teaching methods and consider implementing them in the classroom. 
  • Manage classroom crises and resolve conflict – Sometimes students may face conflict in the classroom that you will need to work to resolve. Do your best to remain neutral and work logically through these conflicts. 
  • Inform parents about their children’s performance – If you notice that a student is performing below average, you may consider informing his/her parents. Seek advice from other colleagues if you are unsure about how to step in. 
  • Collaborate with teaching staff and administrators to foster a good student experience – It’s important for students to feel like they are part of a united community. One way you can contribute to this is by collaborating with other colleagues. This is a great way to network, learn from one another, and make friends. 

Steps to Becoming a High School English Teacher

Steps to becoming a high school English teacher can vary based on location, so be sure to speak directly with the district you are wanting to teach in for specific requirements. For the most part, you can expect the below steps to remain the same: 

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in English.

In order for an individual to teach at the secondary level, they typically earn a bachelor’s degree in English and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. It is also possible to obtain a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an English specialization. For those interested in teaching students between grades K-12 that are non-native English-speaking students, it may be beneficial or required to earn a degree in teaching English as a second language. This is often called ESL. 

 2. Get your teaching license.

After you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you will need to obtain your teaching certification before you are allowed to teach in the classroom. Be sure to note that all public schools require certification, however, if you are looking to work in a private school the requirements may vary based on the school. 

3. Pass the required tests. 

Once you have finished a teacher education program, you will likely need to take a standardized Praxis test. This test is designed to measure one’s basic skills or knowledge in a specific subject area. Some states may require the Praxis I before you begin your teacher education program, while others require both the Praxis I and Praxis II. 

4. Gain in-classroom experience.

Most states require teaching candidates to obtain teaching experience under the supervision of a licensed teacher. They will need to do this for a semester before they teach on their own.

High School English Teacher Salary & Job Outlook

The high school English teacher’s salary and outlook can vary based on location and amount of education earned. On average, high school English teachers make $50,369 per year, or $24.22 per hour, in the United States. Those on the lower 10% of that spectrum make about $37,00 a year, while the top 10% make $67,000. That states where high school English teachers make the most money are in Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Additionally, the employment of high school teachers is expect to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031. Choosing to become a high school English teacher is a great idea for someone who loves helping others improve their reading and writing skills. Learn more about the certification option that is best for you, and start your journey to becoming a high school English teacher today. “Let Teachers of Tomorrow help begin your English teaching journey.”