What does a Secondary School Teacher do?

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  • Written By: T. Alaine
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2019
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A secondary school teacher provides educational instruction to students who have completed their elementary education, and are beginning more specific, advanced coursework. Unlike elementary or primary school teachers, secondary school teachers work with older students and usually teach only one or two subjects. Secondary school teachers are also often entrusted with the responsibilities of serving on school committees or supervising sports, clubs, or other extracurricular activities.

When students complete the necessary primary school education, they are eligible to move on to more specific fields of study in secondary school. Most secondary school teachers are experts in the subject they teach, and usually hold a college or university degree in that field. In contrast with elementary school teachers who teach a wide range of subjects in broad detail, secondary school teachers generally teach only one or two subjects in great depth. For example, the primary school subject of “science” is extremely broad and touches lightly on many aspects of study, but in secondary school this broad area is broken down into detailed courses such as “biology,” “chemistry,” or “physics.”


Usually, a secondary school teacher will teach several classes a day to rotating groups of students. For each of these classes, the teacher is responsible for a number of tasks. These tasks are likely to include creating lesson plans that describe the goals and objectives for each session, giving lectures or supervising group learning activities, assigning homework or independent study activities, writing, administering and grading exams or papers, and calculating a final course grade.

In addition to completing his or her scholarly duties, a secondary school teacher might be called on to participate in different committees or extracurricular activities. To best utilize resources, teachers often act as advisers for student clubs or coach sports teams. During free periods when they are not conducting classes, secondary school teachers might be asked to supervise study halls, detention rooms, or tutoring sessions. Committees that dictate curriculum requirements or organize community outreach can also be staffed by secondary school teachers.

Perhaps one of the most important, yet least official, duties of a secondary school teacher is to monitor the overall health and happiness of his or her students. Teachers spend a lot of time with their students, and are able to notice if any of them are struggling socially or academically. For many students, a secondary school teacher can be a confidant or helpful resource in dealing with the troubles and pressures of adolescence and academia.



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