English Teacher Careers

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In Portsmouth, Rhode Island on the corner of East Main Rd. and Union St. the Southernmost School —the oldest school in the U.S.—opened its doors to students for the first time in 1725. It was here in this one room school that students of all ages would learn arithmetic, reading, and writing for the first time.

A teacher during those times was typically a “sober-minded” white male capable of reading, writing, teaching Latin, and math. He might have been a local farmer, a blacksmith, or an innkeeper who took time off to teach each day. Most teachers were not career teachers or formally trained at that time.

Today many things have changed. Men and women from all walks of life teach in grade-specific schools all across the nation and are required to earn a degree in order to teach. Some things have remained similar for teachers, however.

As an English teacher you may still find yourself teaching math and other subjects as you go about your regular school day. At the elementary level, teachers still teach all subjects including English. When you reach the secondary level, your subject begins to narrow and English Language Arts then becomes your primary focus. Entering the teaching field today still means that you will educate the next generation, just somewhat differently than the early days of our new country.


English Teacher Job Description

Your job will start out with the typical lesson planning sessions, learning how to employ teaching strategies. Over time, as you gain experience, you will develop your own unique methods using what you learn to shape your day to suit your own style.

You will take many of the techniques and skills you learned in school and develop them in ways that work with your district’s standards and your students’ needs. There are basic duties that all English teachers will typically engage in, however, no matter where they teach. Here are some examples:

  • Develop lessons that will align with Common Core Standards or other district chosen standards
  • Develop and adapt your lessons for students with special educational needs
  • Align your classroom’s actions and behaviors to those that are considered social norms
  • Attend parent meetings and conferences
  • Collaborate and meet with other educators
  • Uphold your school’s polices on rules and regulations
  • Know all the procedures for creating a safe and secure environment including school drills
  • Go to pep rallies, games, graduations, sports, and other school functions
  • Prepare your classroom decor
  • Prepare a budget, secure classroom funding, and buy supplies
  • Take daily attendance
  • Grade papers and tests
  • Counsel with students and determine strategies for behavior issues with proper authorities
  • Teach lessons and create substitute plans in case you are absent

Teaching English on Grade Level

At one time many children didn’t know how to say their ABCs when they entered Kindergarten. That isn’t the case anymore. Now with most students going to preschool, the requirements have changed. Children are much more advanced and as such, so are the learning standards at each grade level.

K-8th Grade Standards

The beginning stages of teaching English to younger students starts with helping them learn to identify simple words, and stringing them together in sentences. Children will be able to develop the ability during these years to go from spelling and reading short words like cat, all the way to multi-syllable words such as adventurous and splendid. They will also learn how to write short stories, understand basic sentence structure, and, in the middle school years, start to perform basic research and enjoy pre-teen novels.

Jr. High and High School Standards

By the time a student reaches the secondary level of education they should have a solid foundation in English. During these years you will teach more sophisticated techniques and skills such as:

  • Processing, analyzing, and responding to literary works in close reading
  • Identifying the different parts of grammar and how these are used throughout a paragraph
  • Writing complex papers with thesis and research elements
  • Crafting strong arguments, creative prose, or speeches

Career Outlook for English Teachers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that during the next eight years teaching jobs as an overall are expected to rise by twelve percent in the lower grades, and six percent at the upper grades. While this is a general statistic that covers all subjects in all schools around the U.S., these figures could be much greater given the subject.

English is a core subject. It has been the focus of much restructuring in school teaching standards during the last few years as the Common Core Standards have been employed. A well-trained English Language Arts teacher will likely stay in strong demand, especially in some demographic areas such as inner-city schools and rural remote areas.

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