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Studies & Degrees in Teacher Training for Secondary Education

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The teacher training for secondary education involves learning how to teach and instruct students who have already completed their elementary education, and are beginning more specific, advanced coursework. In contrast with primary school teachers, secondary school professionals work with older students, and instruct them in only one or two specific subjects. This means that most secondary school teachers are experts in the subject they teach, and usually hold a college or university degree in that field. For example, the primary school subject of “science” is quite 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.”

Furthermore, secondary education teaching involves the application of a variety of methods, including not simply formal lessons, but also discussions, practical activities, experiments, projects, assignments and excursions. Other responsibilities include the preparation of tests and exams, setting assignment and homework, supervising extra classes when other teachers are absent, assisting in extracurricular activities, communicating with colleagues and parents, and many other similar tasks.

Personal Qualities

It is clear that secondary school teachers should be confident and able to deal well with teenage students, on top of some other skills and qualities like:

  • Enthusiasm for and ability in their chosen subject area and teaching
  • Exceptional organizational skills
  • Able to communicate concepts and instructions clearly
  • Patience
  • Be tolerant when dealing with students of differing abilities and from different cultures
  • Be able to accept the rights and needs of all individuals
  • Ready to work out of school hours.

Study Options

In order to become a teacher in secondary education, the teacher training required is usually a bachelor’s degree, combined with some on-the job training. An option is to either gain an education degree in the subject area you are interested in; or, complete a degree in a discipline you feel passionate about, and then get some additional training and education of how to be able to pass this knowledge to students. For example, this can happen during the last few semesters of an education degree program: most universities have a student teaching program that students need to complete. Through this program, education students are placed at local schools, working in classrooms similar to the ones they will be teaching in themselves. Secondary education teaching students will be placed in a high school classroom, working with a teacher, who teaches what the student plans on teaching. Most students must complete two student teaching sessions. Finally, you should keep in mind that secondary school teachers need to continually update their subject knowledge and teaching methods through private study and professional development activities.

Career Options

Secondary school teachers work in private or public schools, and in some cases they would also give individual lessons to students. This is especially relevant for music or art teachers, who give private lessons to gifted students who need additional attention. It is also worth mentioning that the teacher training gained would have equipped you with many transferrable skills, and you would be able to easily shift to other areas of study or practice.