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Studies & Degrees in Secondary Education

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Demands for a higher level of education are rapidly rising, not only in the States but on a global scale. Secondary Education, the stage most teenagers dread but also enjoy the most, is the last and final leg of the compulsory education; definition varies depending on the system of education in one’s country or government, it is sometimes known as high school, middle school or preparatory schools. It is the one of the primary foundations for higher learning; it is also a vital factor in creating a stepping stone for students to a future full of opportunities. In this critical stage of education, students are familiarized with values, philosophies and ideas through hands-on experiences, home works, seat works and projects. The most vital stage of a teenager’s life is laid here for this is where the student learns to interact socially and emotionally and through which begins the molding of his character. Secondary Education is significant to one’s educational journey because it determines one’s future; for example, a student who got good grades during his secondary education will most likely have more job opportunities, get admitted in to excellent universities or land a higher paying job than those who did not have the privilege of a secondary education.

General Education is the common focus in the earlier part of this course. A specialization on the aforementioned subject provides the graduate access for teaching certain subjects at the high school level. Specialization usually comes in the latter part of the course, depending on the educational system. Examples of which are: Mathematics, English, Science, History, Art, Administrative, and the like.

For those who aspire to be teachers themselves, Secondary Education is a very demanding yet fulfilling line of work; as a worker on that field, you will have to learn to handle the different personalities and temperamental attitudes you will eventually encounter with your students, particularly because high school is the beginning of adolescence usually from 13 to 19 years old. Since the quality and efficiency of learning depends on the teachers, the ones assigned to the Secondary Education are in the pole position of the education process. One of the most important characteristic of a good teacher is the ability to communicate well, and as one, you need to learn interact well with all people, not just your students per se but also their parents, your co-workers and perhaps, people in the community as well. Overcoming your stage fright is a must in teaching; you must be able to stand in front of your students with full confidence and poise. Having a good sense of humor is the key to simplifying the tiring task of teaching a lesson, so it is also one way of getting their attention and keeping them interested. A good teacher should also be a good friend and a good leader but a strict disciplinarian when the situation calls for it. You will have either a positive or a negative effect on your students every day and more often than not, it has a long-lasting effect on them. Lastly, dedication to teaching is the most essential part of being an educator because as teachers, they impart knowledge and skills to the students in order to produce globally competitive individuals.

Naturally, you will likely end up in the teaching career if you pursue this course. However, your specialization will determine what subject teacher you will be such as English Teacher, Biology Teacher, Chemistry Teacher, History Teacher, etc.

Secondary education is typical area of study for people interested in teaching at the high school level. In most cases, it consists of 3 parts: breadth, pedagogy or teacher training, and the concentration. The breadth requirement covers a wide range of subjects and usually looks something like a liberal arts major, while concentration is a specific area that the student aspires to teach–e.g. math, physics, history, etc. Finally, pedagogy includes educational techniques and the skills of classroom management, adolescent development, and the learning needs of diverse students.
Most secondary education programs are tailored to the certification process in their own state, province, or country, so graduates are well-qualified to teach as soon as they finish the program. This is highly convenient and prevents the need to return to college and complete a certification process, but it does mean that prospective students need to be careful about where they go to college. This is particularly true in United States, where certification requirements can differ widely from state to state.
Personal Qualities
  • Creativity, ingenuity, and energy
  • Deep passion for your subject
  • Desire to help others and change lives
  • Patience and diligence
Study Options
The main choice that prospective students of secondary education need to make is what area they wish to specialize in. Obviously, a high school math teacher needs a very different educational background from a high school English teacher. Since at least one third as much as one half of your coursework will be centered on your area of specialization, this is a very significant decision.
One popular option–in fact it is a requirement at many programs–is to take a double major or a major/minor combination. For example, someone interested in teaching art might major in education and then take either a minor or a secondary major in fine art. This has the advantage of providing a significant level of depth in one subject without losing the pedagogical training that can be attained through a program in secondary education.
Career Options
There is no question that secondary education is a highly career-oriented area of study, and one that leads generally to only one sort of job. Fortunately, the job of a high school teacher is an important one in literally every society on earth. The United States and many parts of Europe, teacher shortages have led to increased job opportunities for people who choose this line of work, and of course the developing countries of the world have a great need for qualified teachers, so many graduates and secondary education programs go on to teach in the Third World.
Teaching in general, and teaching at the high school level in particular, is known to be one of the most demanding, challenging, and rewarding jobs on earth. The specifics of the job experience will depend upon the nature of the school in which you are teaching–an inner-city teacher in a poor area of Los Angeles will have a job that is wildly different from that of a teacher in an expensive private school in London. If one or the other of these jobs seems more appealing to you, it might be a good idea to look at the hiring practices of schools where you would like to work, so that you can tailor your educational choices to the job opportunities that you hope to pursue.