Secondary Teacher

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Job Summary

Secondary School Teachers teach one or more subjects in secondary schools. These subject area titles may vary from state to state but generally include English, mathematics, science, history, geography, drama, dance, art, music, health and physical education, design, information technology, languages other than English, and home economics. The role of the teacher is varied and includes:

  • Planning and developing long-term teaching programs, including daily lessons, according to the curriculum guidelines and student/community needs
  • Teaching lessons or units of work using a range of teaching methods and strategies - formal lessons, practical projects, experiments and activities, excursions - while utilising information technologies
  • Assessing, evaluating and reporting on student progress and performance
  • Supervising students during lunch time and other breaks;
  • Coordinating student extra-curricular activities
  • Contributing to their area of specialty and whole school direction by attending staff meetings and professional development programs
  • Participating in parent and community events including Parent Teacher Evenings, School Council Committees
  • Assisting with school events such as sports carnivals, camping trips and excursions



For detailed information on the content involved in each of these specialities in NSW see NSW Board of Studies syllabuses sites for the School Certificate and the HSC

Art Teacher/Visual Arts Teacher

Art/Visual Arts Teachers are expected to teach across a range of art specialties including art history, art theory and art practice in various media. Some schools may employ art teachers in specialty areas such as digital media, ceramics and painting.

Drama Teacher

Drama Teachers teach students the theory and practical skills associated with theatre acting and show production which may include areas such as theatre history, costumes, directing, set design, and singing. Drama Teachers may also be involved with running school theatre and musical productions.

English Teacher

English teachers play a key role in enabling students to become confident communicators who can think critically and imaginatively. English includes the study of modern and historical texts (e.g. Shakespeare) as well as everyday and workplace texts. Many teachers choose to combine English with a related subject such as drama or history.

Geography Teacher

Geography Teachers teach both physical and human geography content. Geography Teachers with a human geography background may also teach other related subjects such as Society and Culture.

History Teacher

History Teachers may teach either modern and ancient specialisations or both. They are expected to teach a range of historical periods and geographies, for example ancient Roman history, the Second World War and Australian history. Many History Teachers train in another teaching area such as English which increases their flexibility and employability in schools.

HSIE Teacher (Human Society and its Environment)

HSIE Teachers (Human Society and its Environment) may specialise in Aboriginal Studies, Ancient History, Business Studies, Commerce, Economics, Geography, Legal Studies, Modern History, Studies of Religion, and Society and Culture. Many teachers combine their subject areas with another, for example Modern History and English or Geography and Society and Culture. In smaller schools there may be an expectation that some of these areas be taught by the same staff, for example Business Studies, Commerce, Economics and Legal Studies.

Language Teacher

There are currently more than 30 languages available at Higher School Certificate level in NSW public schools, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish.

Mathematics Teacher

Mathematics is taught in all years with a common course for years 7-8 and a range of courses for years 9-12. The curriculum covers a broad range of mathematics ranging from elementary to advanced levels.

Music Teacher

Music Teachers may work in secondary schools and colleges or in private music schools. In secondary schools, music teachers are expected to teach across a range of music specialities including music history, music theory, music writing and production. Some schools may employ music teachers in specialty areas such as voice or choir, band or orchestra, and specialist instrument teacher (strings or wood wind etc).

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health and Physical Education) Teacher

PDHPE teachers cover a broad range of areas and subjects including: physical activity and sports studies; sport, lifestyle and recreation, community and family studies. PDHPE is taught as an integrated subject for years 7-10 and as specialist subjects in years 11-12.

Science Teacher

Science is taught as an integrated subject in years 7-10 with specialist subjects on offer to years 11-12 in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics or Senior Science.

Special Education Teacher

Special Education Teachers work with students with additional learning and support needs such as physical and intellectual disabilities, a mental health diagnosis, learning or behavioural difficulties.

Technology Teacher

Technology Teaching includes Agriculture, Industrial Design/Technology, Design and Technology, Engineering Studies, Food Technology (Home Economics), Software Design.

Teacher Librarian

A Teacher Librarian manages the library resources and assists students to utilise a range of resources and technologies to search for materials, as well as how to evaluate and synthesise material from various sources.

Through this process they introduce students to a variety of sources, writing styles and formats ranging from standard printed material to various digital formats and important authors from various types of literature. In addition to completing a secondary teaching qualification, teacher librarians must also have completed an approved course in teacher librarianship.


Personal Qualities

In addition to ability and enthusiasm for their particular field of expertise teachers should enjoy working with young people and exhibit patience and tolerance when dealing with students with a wide range of abilities and from disparate backgrounds. Secondary teachers require well developed communication skills in order to communicate with students and explain complex subject matter. They also need to display a high level of organisational skills to plan and deliver courses, prepare examination questions and mark homework and assessments.

Entrance Requirements

Secondary teachers need to complete either a teaching degree or a three year degree followed by a postgraduate accredited teaching training program. The postgraduate training option may require additional subjects depending on the major. Teachers are required to be registered with the appropriate state/territory teacher regulatory authority.

Principal Employment Sectors and Industry

Secondary Teachers work in public and private schools.