How Do I Become A High School Teacher?

Teaching is one of the more fulfilling vocations for those who would like to make an impact in the world one student at a time. Mentoring high school students is especially crucial inasmuch as they are at the crossroads of their lives and are already transitioning from the carefree world they once knew to the responsibilities that come with being young adults. They are also inundated with the choices they need to make that will have an impact on their futures. The guidance of high school teachers is critical in these times.

Indeed, not everyone is cut out to be a high school teacher. But for those who are passionate about and dedicated to the welfare of young people, the journey towards becoming a high school teacher starts with a bachelor’s degree. You will need to think carefully about the study area you are going to major in because in many states this is going to be the subject area that you will teach to high school students. You can earn an undergraduate degree in math, biology, chemistry, history, social studies, English Language Arts or computer science and will be able to teach that subject to high school students.

In addition to getting an undergraduate degree in a particular subject area, you will need to enroll in a teacher preparation program. This program will prepare you to teach students because of classes in child psychology and education in addition to letting you experience what it’s like to actually teach through actual field experience. This program also prepares you to teach students coming from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds.

After obtaining their bachelor’s degree and finishing their teacher preparation program, you will need to take and pass a general teaching certification test. In addition, you will also need to pass a test that will show your proficiency in the subject that you intend to teach. You will then be awarded a license to teach students from the seventh to twelfth grades. In some states, it is mandatory for teachers who have already received their certification to obtain their master’s degree.

It’s important to keep in mind that a license is needed if you want to teach in public schools. However, this isn’t a strict requirement in teaching private schools. That being said, private schools typically employ teachers who have complied with the requirements to teach in public high schools. In many cases, teachers must keep their knowledge about teaching up to date by enrolling in professional development classes yearly.

What if you already have a bachelor’s degree but don’ have the requisite education courses that will qualify you to sit for a licensure exam? Can you still teach in high school? Yes, you can by availing of what is known as an alternative certification program. States usually have this. Under an alternative program, aspiring teachers are able to handle classes right away under the supervision of a licensed and experienced teacher. The program also incorporates lessons in child development and teaching methodologies. Completing the program will entitle you to a full certification.

If you are intent on becoming a teacher, you must not only prepare yourself by getting your teaching credentials. You should also prepare your heart and mind completely for the task. Teaching is a lifetime deal so you need to develop genuine concern for children, have patience and be resourceful to succeed in this profession.

Career Spotlight: High School Teacher

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