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Teaching & Education careers

Teaching: Secondary & Sixth Form

Why get into secondary education?

A teaching career in secondary schools and sixth form colleges offers a working week in which every day presents new challenges. The range of roles that you play will put you into daily contact with a wide range of people, and also give you opportunities beyond the classroom; in short, it's an ideal option for a graduate job.

What does secondary teaching usually involve?

We all remember one inspirational teacher! Working with young people is arguably the most important job that you can do. It’s a chance to help young students aim high and reach their full potential, whatever that might be. The next generation of scientists, artists, mathematicians or writers could be taught by you!

Secondary teaching is not for the faint-hearted, but if you love your subject and relish the chance to share your knowledge with young people, then working as a teacher offers the chance to do that and much more.

Typically, secondary teachers will be responsible for planning, teaching and evaluating the work of students on a day-to-day basis. They may also be expected to act as tutor/mentor, and thus can be responsible for pastoral care, i.e. dealing with students’ emotional and behavioural problems and providing appropriate support.

What will my role be as a secondary teacher?

Secondary teachers will work within a department alongside colleagues teaching the same subject. Some will be asked to teach additional subjects or PSHE (personal, social and health education). All teachers are expected to contribute to departmental planning and schemes of work, as well as producing teaching materials.

They will be responsible for teaching students aged between 11 and 18 years old and are expected to become familiar with the curriculum requirements for each ‘key stage’, including examination board specifications.

Non-contact time and support from non-teaching staff will be another important part of the school week. Professional development will be an integral part of any teaching job, and training will be provided in school or by outside agencies.

Keeping records, working with data to set targets, writing reports and attending parents’ evenings are all part of a teacher’s many additional duties. However, some of the best moments in the job will come from the extra-curricular contributions that teachers offer, such as managing a school football team, leading a trip to the theatre or art gallery, and residential trips at home or abroad. Secondary teaching is challenging, but also great fun and very rewarding!

Written by Jean Collins
Drama & Theatre Studies Teacher @ Dayncourt Comprehensive School, Nottingham