Secondary teacher - Science and maths

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Stacey, 23

Stacey is the kind of teacher we all wish for. She's enthusiastic about the science she teaches, cares about her students and spends her spare time running the school's drama group. 

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Fact file

Job description: Teaches biology, mathematics and general science to secondary students, produces the school play, coordinates the school's extracurricular music program.

Subjects studied: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics (2 units) and English.

Further training: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education from Monash University (4 years).

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Profile

Despite her parents' advice, Stacey has just completed her first year on the job as a secondary school science teacher. "Both of my parents are teachers and they were always telling me not to become one," she says with a laugh.

Stacey does agree with her parents that there is a downside to her work. "There's a lot of extra hours spent at home planning lessons and correcting work," she says. "And you can forget about being a millionaire." Still, she doesn't regret the years spent studying for a combined Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degree from Monash University.

"As a teacher you can really make a difference to people's lives. It's great to see the expression on the students' faces when they accomplish something, to have them come to you for help, or even just say hello to you in the hall."

"Fantastic science teachers" were a major influence in Stacey's career choice. She says she'll be happy if she can be a little like them in her own approach.

For Stacey, life at school extends well beyond teaching mathematics and science. After formal classes, Stacey becomes the producer of the school play and coordinator of the school's extracurricular music programs.

Being a school teacher has given Stacey the opportunity to be involved in her three main interests - science, dance and drama - and to pass her enthusiasm on to the next generation.

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Job specs

Secondary school teachers teach one or more subjects within the school curriculum to high school students.

Duties:

Subjects secondary school teachers can teach include English, mathematics, science, art, health and physical education, technology, languages other than English, studies of society and environment and home economics.

A secondary school teacher may perform the following tasks: 

  • prepare daily lessons and long-term teaching programs in accordance with state or territory system guidelines
  • teach using a variety of methods including formal lessons, discussions, practical activities, experiments and excursions
  • use information technology to assist in lesson preparation, teaching and reporting
  • set tests and exams, projects, assignments and homework, mark and correct these, and collate the results
  • evaluate and report on the progress of students, discussing individual performance and problems with students and parents
  • establish and maintain good working habits and discipline in classrooms and throughout the school
  • supervise extra classes when other teachers are absent
  • supervise students in the yard during lunchtime and other breaks
  • carry out relevant administrative duties
  • attend staff meetings, educational conferences and other professional development activities
  • coordinate work experience and school-industry programs
  • participate in other activities in partnership with parents and the school community, including parent-teacher nights, school council and other committees
  • assist in organising sporting events, camping trips and other excursions
  • be involved in distance education, i.e. teaching using radio and television transmission, correspondence, audiovisual and other multimedia resources 
  • coordinate administrative support programs and the work of non-teaching staff in schools
  • keep in touch and network with other teachers
  • contribute to revising curriculum and school organisations to reflect student needs and national, state and territory initiatives.

 Personal requirements:

  • enthusiasm for, and ability in, a chosen subject area and teaching 
  • high-level organisational skills 
  • able to communicate concepts and instructions clearly 
  • enjoy working with teenage children 
  • patient in dealing with students of differing abilities and from different cultures 
  • acceptance of the rights and needs of all individuals 
  • prepared to work out of school hours.‚Äč

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Find out more about a career in teaching at the Department of Education and Training - Teaching Careers page (new window) and at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).