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Career profile: Secondary school teacher

Career profile: Secondary school teacherAre you passionate about a specific subject, highly disciplined and enjoy working with young people? Take a look at how you could maximise these skills by becoming a secondary school teacher.

A what?

A secondary school teacher teaches one or more national curriculum subjects to pupils aged 11 to 16 in schools, or up to 19 in sixth forms.

On the job

Teachers have to be amazing multi-taskers with bags of creativity, humour and imagination to plan and teach inspirational lessons and help people learn.

Keeping discipline is an important part of the role, especially when dealing with large classes. So teachers must be firm and confident in order to command respect.

As well as teaching, they must monitor the progress of individual pupils and complete reports, tailor resources to them, keep tabs on new developments in their subject area, new resources, teaching methods and national objectives.

Teachers must liaise with countless other partners, including parents, professionals and carers, to ensure their pupils achieve their full potential in school.

Teachers will also often take on additional responsiblities to increase their salaries. These could include running extra curricular activities and assisting in the running of departments.

39 weeks of the year are allocated for teaching and term-time hours may be long. Hours vary between schools and are usually from 9am until 3.30 or 4pm, but most teachers are in school well before the school day starts and are still there long after the pupils have gone home. Marking and preparation are usually done at home.

Teachers receive 13 weeks per year paid leave during which they are expected to work on marking, planning and preparation.

How much does it pay?

Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland start on about £20,627 per year. Their salaries will rise incrementally as they gain experience to £30,148 (salary data collected Nov 2008).

Experienced teachers may receive considerable salary increases if they become advanced skills teachers (in England and Wales) or chartered teachers (in Scotland), or may move into management roles.

Find out more about how much teachers earn.

How do I get there?

There are several different ways to become a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).

Once you have acquired NQT status, you will need to apply for a job. You can find work by contacting your local authority, reading the job adverts in the press and online and through word of mouth.

How flexible you are about your location of work will help boost your job prospects considerably. You will find there are more jobs available in inner-city schools where staff turnover may be higher.

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