High School English teachers play a critical role in their students’ ultimate success because they have the opportunity to teach students to improve their abilities in two fundamental skills: reading and writing.
Nature of the Work
High School English teachers introduce students to literary masterpieces, thus broadening their academic and cultural literacy. Teaching the critical thinking skills necessary to interpret these works gives students the tools to comprehend other writing they will encounter later in life. Teaching writing skills is another vital part of a High School English teacher’s job. The ability to write a well-organized paper with developed thoughts and proper grammar is one of the most important skills needed for students pursuing higher education. In the work force, an employee’s writing ability is a strong reflection of his or her level of education. Because of the increasing importance of strong reading and writing skills, High School English teachers have the unique opportunity to set their students on a life-long path to success.
To promote learning in the classroom, High School English teachers should first develop reasonable rules for behavior and then enforce the rules along with the school’s stated policies.
In designing lessons, High School English teachers must take into account the curriculum required to help students preparing to take college entrance exams. Lessons which incorporate vocabulary and grammar skills are critical in addition to reading and writing about literature.
In addition to teaching their classes, High School English teachers may also work as homeroom teachers or study hall supervisors. Many serve as advisors for extracurricular activities or as tutors for standardized test preparation. All should strive to be available to meet with parents and to show support for student learning. A partnership between teachers, parents and students is essential to success in English class.
Most teachers work a 10-month school year with a 2-month summer vacation. During the break, they may teach in summer sessions, take other jobs, pursue hobbies, or spend time with their families.
Teaching Methods for High School English Teachers
High School English teachers should be sensitive to students’ varying reading abilities. In addition to assigning reading homework, teachers should also employ in-class oral reading activities to benefit students who have difficulty focusing on silent reading. Having the students read aloud or even act out plays, for example, engages some students in a more effective way.
Because many students find learning grammar tedious, High School English teachers may find that dedicating a small portion of time each class to teaching it yields better retention than teaching all concepts in one large block. Having students complete exercises on the board keeps the class more engaged in the lesson.
Regular journal writing assignments in class are also a useful tool for helping students develop a greater level of comfort with writing. Grading them also gives High School English teachers a greater sense of their students’ areas of strengths and weaknesses, allowing more opportunities to catch mistakes early.
Job Opportunities for High School English Teachers
Job opportunities for High School English teachers depend primarily on the geography of the school. Job prospects are best in inner cities and rural areas, and teachers willing to teach in these schools may receive performance benefits.
Job openings result from large numbers of teachers leaving the workforce due to retirement or the decision to leave teaching after working a year or two in under-resourced schools.
Requirements for High School English Teachers
High School English teachers in the state of Texas are required to have a Bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA in at least 24 semester hours of English Language Arts. To work in a Texas public school, teaching candidates must be highly qualified as stated by the No Child Left Behind guidelines.
Alternative Certification Programs are attractive options for individuals who would like to become a teacher without taking classes on a college campus.
The Web-Centric Alternative Certification Program (WCACP) provides a path for individuals to obtain teaching certification from home. The courses, video-conferences and chats are conducted entirely online, so students can work at their own pace.
Individuals interested in teaching High School English can benefit from the 8-12 English Language Arts and Reading content area. Completing the WCACP with the High School English specialization provides a certification to teach sixth – twelfth grade High School English in any Texas middle or high school.