A high school teacher instructs students in specific subjects such as biology, math and computer science. Their work during students’ teen years is important, as they help prepare them for higher education, including by narrowing down possible future professions. Research by the RAND Corporation, a global nonprofit, found that teachers are so crucial to student performance on reading and math tests that they “have two to three times the effect of any other school factor, including services, facilities and even leadership.” If you’re interested in getting a job as a high school teacher, we’re happy to help you build a quality resume. First, let’s examine some standard resume formats below.
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Job Duties of High School Teachers
High school teachers educate students between grades 9 through 12 or only 10 through 12, depending on the school. They prepare students for college or immediate employment by leading classes in various academic and technical subjects. They also collaborate with the school administration in organizing activities such as dances and plays, and maintaining the all-important academic clubs that colleges love to see on entry applications. Teachers at this education level also communicate with parents about student assessments and address potential problems, including students’ mental and physical health.
The primary duties of high school teachers are:
Preparing instruction lesson plans. Some instructors who focus on elective classes, such as drama or physical education and sometimes teach different subjects during the same semester, though this is not as common in larger schools.
Implementing school policies and classroom rules.
Reviewing student assignments and exams.
Analyzing student capabilities to find students’ strengths and any possible deficiencies. All students expect to be appropriately counseled, thoughtfully, and based on their learning capacity.
Interacting with parents to report student progress.
Educating students based on standardized test requirements.
Developing student-centered teaching modules by personally paying attention to every student’s needs.
Managing students outside the classroom, including during field trips, lunchtime or detention.
Median Salaries of High School Teachers
Average salaries for high school teachers vary by state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary is $61,660 per year. The cable business news channel CNBC found in recent reporting that the lowest average salary is in Oklahoma, at $42,460, and the highest is $82,020 in Alaska.
Top Skills for High School Teachers
The first and foremost skill a high school teacher needs to possess is a thorough knowledge of the subject they teach. That’s what is often considered a “hard,” specific skill, one based on education. But high school teachers also need to have soft skills, which tend toward the creative, psychological side but are just as important.
Here are some top skills of high school teachers, according to our experts at Resume Now:
- Constructive communication: It’s simple: A fair, open communicator helps students learn better than a bad one. But it’s not just about delineating for students how to do a task like writing an essay or how to solve a particularly tricky equation. At the core of high school-level development is learning why things are the way they are. You get to explain why writing an essay through the inverted pyramid method is the best way to develop your argument. Why even the most simple version of calculus can help students understand, like an MIT professor says, “quantitative models of change, and to deduce their consequences.” It also helps them begin to understand important technical and science-based subjects like physics and engineering. And this is why the constructive part of this skill is essential — when students make mistakes or can’t understand concepts, you have to provide instruction in a reasonable manner that feels useful and doesn’t make them feel attacked.
- Compassion: A patient and understanding presence will make a teacher more respected. Students of high school age tend to go through many changes beyond puberty. They may become more attuned to their sexual and spiritual preferences, they will gain and lose friendships, and it will all come up in the classroom. Being compassionate helps a teacher gain students’ trust and allow them to gain emotional maturity.
- Constant improvement: A great teacher is also a great learner. The performance of high school teachers is continuously evaluated, so passion about improving knowledge and skill sets every year is key. This continuous learning mindset helps them develop innovative teaching techniques. Obtaining a master’s degree, attending conferences, or researching new topics on their own time is an essential part of the profession.
- Emotional adaptability: High school teachers expect to be composed enough to deal with different kinds of situations. Getting constantly agitated or having emotional outbursts will lead to a loss of trust from students and colleagues. You’re supposed to be the literal “adult in the room.” So, high school teachers should always be willing to adjust their teaching strategies in a calm way to keep up with difficult situations.
- Unbiased: To create a fair educational base for student education, high school teachers must engage with students on even, objective terms to make learning simpler and effective. Being personally biased based on race, religion, class, sexual orientation or culture negatively impacts everyone involved.
Educational Requirements for High School Teachers
A degreeA bachelor’s degree is the minimum qualification for all public and private high school teachers. Some states may ask for a master’s degree in the specific subject you want to teach.
Licensure or certificationsPublic high school teachers must be licensed or certified, as per their states’ requirements, while private school teachers do not need them but are required to pass a series of sometimes difficult academic tests. A high school teacher job candidate needs to settle on the subject, grade level or specialty area they want to teach, and then look for state, grade level, and subject-certification requirements.
Certification or licensure requisites vary according to states but typically include a bachelor’s degree and an internship from an accredited educator preparation program.
The National Educator Preparation Program (EPP) Directory offers a basic idea of all certifications available. EPP certifications, for example, are available for people who have a master’s degree or a bachelor’s with a certification. An essential skills test is usually a part of these tests. Many states also consider the Praxis I certification. During the certification process, potential teachers are subject to a personal background test to find any possible legal trouble. After teachers pass their tests, they submit all documentation to the state’s department of education and instruction to receive the certification.
Teachers can also attain the National Board Certification, based on five “core propositions” that encourage teachers to be “members of learning communities” and to think “systematically about their practice.” You need to be a working teacher for at least three years to be eligible. Subjects include Science, Social Studies, and Exceptional Needs Specialist, among many others. It is a challenging certification process and the cost is about $2,000, though the program does offer financial help.
High School Teacher Resume-Writing Tips
A high school teacher’s resume must communicate the candidate’s efficiency in teaching and handling of classrooms while dealing with students’ various needs. It must portray the candidate’s knowledge and experience in the best way possible while also keeping in mind the schools’ expectations as defined in the job listing. Check out some resume-writing tips below:
- Shoot your shot at the top of the resume. A professional summary or an objective statement is important to quickly define your experience, especially if you have a lot of it, and how you can use it to help develop students. For people who are just starting out and have more skills and education to talk about rather than actual job experience, we recommend you provide a concrete idea of the scope of your abilities to get noticed by recruiters.
- Persuade them with your skills and competencies. A high school teacher must possess many soft and hard skills to handle the modern teaching game. Here are a few all-important skills that we’ve seen in the best high school teacher resumes:
- In the skill section of your resume, describe your specific teaching methods and strategies that proved to help students in the past.
- In the experience section of your resume, under each job, mention any policies, teaching techniques, and classroom rules you implemented that encouraged students to grow socially and academically.
- Also in the skills section, write in how your supervision defused conflicts between students especially if you were a part of any disciplinary committees.
- Validate your achievements and education. Candidates with the right academic qualifications have a great chance to get recruited in both public and private schools. People with a master’s degree or certification in mathematics, science, English or history are always needed at high schools, so make sure your resume highlights this. Also, don’t forget to add any extra education that relates to your work with students including any psychological, conflict-resolution, counseling, language, and special education courses.
What are the responsibilities of a high school teacher?
High school teachers must have a great passion for teaching and in-depth knowledge of their subject. They are responsible for planning lessons, grading assignments and exams, and implementing creative teaching techniques to oversee students’ strengths and weaknesses. They communicate with parents regarding students’ progress, teachers and other staff to organize field trips and extracurricular activities. High school teachers empathize with students to build trust and communication and address conflicts to counsel students. Collectively, they work to improve students’ academic skills and emotional maturity to deal with the real world.
What are the basic qualifications of a high school teacher?
A bachelor’s degree and a certification in a teacher education program are valid qualifications for a high school teacher. Private schools seek candidates with these qualifications, whereas public schools require a certificate or license at a specific grade level.
What is the extent of progress for high school teachers?
High school teachers’ employment growth varies by state, as it relies directly on state and local government budgets. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an expected 4% growth in employment projected from 2019-2029.