What does a secondary school teacher do?

Teachers have a duty of care to their students to foster both academic growth and general wellbeing. Generally, a secondary teacher will specialise in one or more subjects and may choose to work exclusively with older or younger grades within the high school system. They are responsible for creating lesson plans, setting assignments, marking students work and keeping a student’s parents/guardians up to date on their progress and proficiencies. A secondary teacher is responsible for creating a learning environment that is conducive to learning, critical thinking and creativity, providing support and guidance for students of different cultural backgrounds and abilities.


  • Preparing lesson plans
  • Marking student work and providing feedback
  • Fostering relationships with students and their parents
  • Supervising planned activities

What skills do I need to be a secondary school teacher?

While the subject-specific skills you need will vary based on your teaching area, there are some personal attributes and proficiencies that will help you become a successful secondary school teacher. Creativity, the ability to design engaging lessons, an earnest care for your students, genuine interest in your subject area and strong interpersonal skills will all assist you in being an efficient and capable high school teacher.

  • Able to maintain discipline in the classroom
  • Creative approach to teaching
  • Strong problem solving skills
  • Skilled in conflict resolution
  • Empathetic and patient


During the course of their studies, secondary school teachers are able to elect their specialisations, choosing subjects that are of personal interest. Secondary school teachers can also opt to teach in certain geographical areas or to work with students who are perceived to have a socio-economic disadvantage or learning difficulties.

Aboriginal Education Teacher

Secondary school teachers may elect to work specifically with indigenous students. This would involve teaching a curriculum designed for students from an indigenous cultural background and targeted at both urban and rural communities. Flexibility, patience and an appreciation of indigenous cultures are all essential to this role.

Special Education

Secondary school teachers can choose to work with students who physical, emotional, sensory or intellectual impairments. This form of teaching can be conducted in specialty schools or in general schools where there is a special education program. Special education teachers instruct their students in general life skills in addition to an academic program.

Teacher Librarian

A teacher librarian’s role is multifaceted, incorporating teaching research skills to students, promoting literacy, coordinating distance education programs and managing the library resources. Teacher librarians are an invaluable source of information and IT skills for students to draw on as self-directed study becomes more prevalent.

Study pathways for secondary school teachers

Tertiary education is a prerequisite for working as a teacher in the secondary school system. A high school teacher will generally complete a bachelor’s degree in education, incorporating their subject area into their program of study as a major, or they will complete a bachelor degree in their subject followed by a master of teaching degree.

Getting Started

Deciding on your own strengths and interests in teaching will help determine your first steps.

Skill Building

Work towards becoming an accredited teacher with courses designed to build competence and confidence.

Professional Development

Gain skills and experience to help turn your passion into a career.

Industry Recognition

You will need to join the register of qualified teachers within your state in order to commence your teaching career.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your teaching career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

In both urban and rural communities, the employment prospects for teachers are continuing to grow each year.