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Secondary English Teacher Job Description

A Secondary English Teacher is responsible for teaching English to pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4 (aged 11 to 16 years). The job can be rewarding, working with young people at an age where they are starting to formulate their own ideas and reasoning strategies while studying English. A Secondary English Teacher will also be preparing pupils for their GCSE exams.

What does a Secondary English Teacher do?

As a Secondary English Teacher you will enable pupils to gain a good command of both spoken and written language, equipping them with the ability to express themselves and their ideas in a variety of situations. As well as teaching grammar and writing skills, an English Teacher also encourages pupils to read and analyse literature, improving their critical thinking skills. You will play a key role in engaging pupils and helping them reach their potential through your own passion for the subject. 

Being an English teacher in a secondary school will challenge you to use various teaching methods across the range of year groups. An energetic, hands-on teaching style will help explain things to classes with pupils of different abilities. The position can be especially exciting, working with an age group who may question and challenge your ideas, creating interesting discussions within the classroom. 

In the academic years of 2020 and 2021, Teachers found themselves moving from the physical classroom to the virtual classroom, adjusting to new technology and a very different way of teaching. Being unable to see and interact with their pupils in the usual manner meant having to adapt and evolve, a key attribute for those in, or planning to join the teaching profession. 

Secondary English Teacher jobs are available year-round. Positions often start at the beginning of a new term, but mid-term opportunities also arise. 

Is a Secondary English Teacher job a good fir for you?

The following are some of the key components of a Secondary English Teacher job:

  • Lesson Planning
    You should plan English lessons to meet the national curriculum guidance, working with colleagues to coordinate lessons as needed, and giving direction to Teaching Assistants (TAs). Each class should include a balance of appropriate instruction, demonstration, and practice, using suitable activities to give pupils the maximum opportunity to learn.

  • In the Classroom
    Each lesson and project needs to have a clear objective which is explained and understood by the pupils. You may have to adapt teaching methods and materials according to their needs and interests and the topic being taught. Pupils should be motivated with an enthusiastic approach and a variety of individual, group, and whole class work. They should be encouraged to respect each other as they work together to achieve their learning goals and given the confidence to research topics by themselves. 

    As an English Teacher you must help and support each individual as needed. You will also set, mark and give feedback on English assignments, tests and homework, as part of the continuous assessment of each pupil.

    It is also important to ensure the classroom is a safe environment where safeguarding procedures are followed and rules for behaviour are established and enforced as needed.

  • Outside the Classroom
    Away from the classroom you will need to attend staff meetings and carry out various administrative tasks, such as writing and updating records and reports. You will also provide feedback to the Head of the English Department and to parents or guardians at parents evenings. There may also be situations where it is necessary to liaise with parents, other staff members or external bodies concerning the progress or behaviour of a child.

  • Personal Development
    As a Secondary English Teacher you will be required to participate in various training and development sessions. It is also important to keep yourself updated with any changes to the English requirements in the national curriculum.

Are you a good fit for a Secondary English Teacher job?

If you enjoy English and want to encourage and inspire others in the subject, then becoming a Secondary English Teacher is an excellent opportunity to pass on your knowledge and help pupils achieve their own academic goals. To succeed, you need to have:

  • Excellent knowledge of the national curriculum guidance for English.
  • Ability to encourage and inspire pupils to be excited about English as a subject.
  • Genuine desire to motivate pupils to achieve their potential.
  • Excellent communication skills to engage with pupils.
  • Good organisational skills to plan and design effective lessons using a variety of teaching methods.
  • Dedication to the job and the pupils by creating an environment conducive to learning English.
  • Patience.
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Commitment to safeguarding the welfare of children.
  • Competence in using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Google Classrooms or similar.

Qualifications, Licenses and Certifications

In order to become a Secondary English Teacher you need the following essential qualifications:

You must also have a fluent level of spoken and written English and pass an enhanced background (DBS) check.

When assessing candidates to fill an English teaching position, employers will be looking for individuals who are knowledgeable of the subject and have a positive, outgoing personality that will motivate and inspire their pupils. At the same time, they will look for a Teacher who is supportive and patient, willing to encourage and empathise with pupils of all abilities. 

Where can a Secondary English Teacher job take you?

To continue in your English teaching career it is important to stay up to date with the curriculum guidelines, keep up with your own reading on the subject and stay current with the latest software to enhance English teaching in the classroom. 

After gaining some experience as a Secondary English Teacher, you could take more responsibility working with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) pupils. This could be as a specialist SEND Teacher, across various schools in the public or private sector. With more years’ experience you could consider applying for a position as an English department Head, eventually moving on to an Assistant Headteacher or Headteacher role. 

Where next?

To help with the next steps in your teacher training, click here for our advice. 

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