English teachers are ubiquitous, or everywhere at once! You can find English teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools, vocational schools, and colleges. Almost anywhere there is education, you are likely to find English teachers.
However, the English teachers that most people remember are their high school English teachers. These teachers give students their first taste of literature and writing and help to mold the minds of young writers, poets, and leaders. While college teachers refine critical thinking and writing skills, high school English teachers lay the foundation for future work, and many successful communicators remember their high school English teachers as the people who inspired them to study their own language further and fostered their creative ability.
Elementary school teachers also teach English language skills, but they usually focus more on the acquisition of basic reading, spelling, and writing skills and not as much on the critical thinking that leads to a more mature understanding of written material. Secondary English teachers also focus on skills such as public speaking and debate which are not usually taught at lower grade levels.
What Type of Degree Should I Have to Become a High School English Teacher?
In order to become a high school English teacher, there are two educational paths students can take. A student who takes a Bachelor of Arts in English can become certified to teach by taking a few extra education and psychology classes and passing a certification exam. Students can also major in Secondary English Education, a curriculum path that incorporates both higher-level literature and writing classes and education classes. These degrees usually lead directly to certification when the student passes the certification examination.
Neither path is necessarily preferable to the other. A degree in English for Secondary Teachers may not be as flexible as a degree in English Literature or Creative Writing, although many people with this degree do move into other fields if they decide not to teach.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Secondary English Teacher?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, secondary teachers earn a median annual salary of $56,760. Most teachers begin with a bachelor’s degree and many choose to earn a master’s degree as most states base teacher pay in part of the level of education.
Many colleges offer master’s programs for teachers that can be completed while they continue to work, allowing them to earn better pay and more professional recognition while still earning a living.
Secondary English teachers who take a master’s degree in administration may find that they wind up as department heads or curriculum administrators, earning significantly larger salaries than classroom teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for secondary school administrators is $87,470.
Secondary English teachers work an average of 190 days per year. Many teachers supplement their salaries by teaching summer school, working in after-school programs, and taking advantage of other extracurricular teaching opportunities.
What Is The Job Outlook for Secondary English Teachers?
Secondary school teacher positions are not expected to grow as quickly as other teaching positions, but secondary school teachers can expect to see job growth between 2010 and 2020 of seven percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this rate is slower than the projected job growth for most occupations, English teachers will be in higher demand and will find more jobs available in fast-growing school systems and urban areas.
English teachers should have a love of the English language, writing and literature that allows them to convey enthusiasm to their students. They should also be interested in helping students learn and refining their skills to make them better writers, readers, and speakers. If you enjoy English literature and writing and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, you may want to consider a career as a secondary English teacher.