How to become a secondary school teacher: Australian careers in teaching

Consider the amount of change that occurs in a person’s life between the age of twelve and eighteen. While we may not always acknowledge it, high school teachers play a huge role in the growth and development of young people. A large part of the job is fostering an enriching and accepting classroom environment, which can be challenging with adolescent students. High school teachers create lesson plans that aim to improve their students’ knowledge of a particular subject. They also ensure their lessons, assignments and teaching methods stick to the state or territory’s proposed curriculum. The completion of a tertiary level qualification is required to be a teacher in Australia.

  • Task Career in focus: What a secondary school teacher does

    Teachers have a duty of care to their students to foster both academic growth and general wellbeing. Generally, a secondary teacher will specialise in one or more subjects and may choose to work exclusively with older or younger grades within the high school system. They are responsible for creating lesson plans, setting assignments, marking students work and keeping a student’s parents/guardians up to date on their progress and proficiencies. A secondary teacher is responsible for creating a learning environment that is conducive to learning, critical thinking and creativity, providing support and guidance for students of different cultural backgrounds and abilities.


    • Preparing lesson plans
    • Marking student work and providing feedback
    • Fostering relationships with students and their parents
    • Supervising planned activities
  • Skills Core qualities: Skills to succeed as a secondary school teacher

    Subject-specific knowledge will vary between teachers depending on their area of expertise. For example, not all teachers are required to know a second language – but those who teach one do. Creativity, passion, genuine care towards the students and the ability to design engaging lessons are incredibly important skills across the board.

    • Ability to appropriately discipline students
    • Engaging method of teaching
    • Strong problem solving skills
    • Able to resolve conflicts
    • Empathetic and patient
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within secondary teaching

    During the course of their studies, future secondary school teachers can begin to pick subjects that will reflect their specialty. They may also opt to teach in certain areas, or at certain schools, to help them reach their teaching goals. For example, working with students who are perceived to have a socio-economic disadvantage or learning difficulties can be extremely rewarding for teachers at any level. 

    Aboriginal Education Teacher

    Those who choose to pursue teaching with indigenous students are required to design their teaching to suit the culture and environment. This may mean working in a rural community, or it could be helping aboriginal students living in more metropolitan areas. Flexibility, patience and an appreciation of indigenous cultures are all essential to this role.

    Special Education

    “Special education” is a type of learning that encompasses students who have physical, emotional, sensory or intellectual impairments. This form of teaching can be conducted in specialty schools or in general schools where there is a special education program. Special education teachers not only teach their students theoretical knowledge, they also guide them in learning life skills that will help them in every day life.

    Teacher Librarian

    A teacher librarian is someone that not only manages the school library, but also promotes literacy, coordinates long distance education and teaches research skills to students. As students grow older and become more independent learners, librarians can be a source of guidance and knowledge in times of need.
  • Pathways The right track: Find study options for becoming a secondary teacher

    Tertiary education is compulsory for those wanting to work as a teacher in the secondary school teacher. Most aspiring teachers will complete a bachelor’s degree in education, selecting subjects that reflect their interests and skill set. The other alternative is completing a degree in a particular subject and following it up with a master’s degree in teaching.

    Starting Out

    Complete a bachelor degree in education straight off the bat, or pursue study in a certain interest before backing up your qualifications with degree in teaching. For those who don’t gain entry to a course straight after high school, there are many pathway-to-university options available.

    Building Skills

    No matter the road you take, throughout your studies you will be able to build up your general teaching skills as well as your knowledge in the area of your interest

    Developing Your Resume

    Students undertaking a Bachelor of Education are required to participate in multiple placements as a part of their course, allowing them to gain essential teaching experience that can be cited on a job application.

    Industry Recognition

    To begin your career in teaching, you will need to join the register of qualified teachers within your state or territory.

    Entering the Workforce

    Get a head start in your teaching career by networking early on – particularly whilst completing placements. When the time comes, create an impressive resume that emphasises your strengths and highlights your experience.

    Job Prospects in Teaching: Working life as a secondary school teacher

    As long as there are babies being born, there will be a need for teachers. Job prospects in teaching are expected to grow at a steady rate in both urban and rural communities. As the popularity of online learning and distance education become more mainstream, new opportunities will arise that may change the way teachers teach.

Teaching Industry Resources:

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