Secondary school teachers work in state and independent schools, teaching children aged from 11 to 16, or up to 19 in schools with sixth forms.
Secondary teachers usually specialise in one or two subjects and teach these to classes of different ages and abilities throughout the school. They prepare students for exams, including Standard Grades (S grades), Highers (H grades), SQA national certificate modules, GSVQs, and the Higher Still programme.
In addition to actual teaching, teachers spend a lot of time preparing lessons and teaching materials, marking and assessing work and mounting displays in the classroom. The work also involves liaising with other professionals, speaking to parents and carers (both informally and at parents' evenings), attending meetings and in-service training, and organising outings, social activities and sporting events.
Teachers in state schools in Scotland have a standard 35 hours a week and work 195 days a year. School hours vary between schools but are usually 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. The amount of class contact time is gradually being reduced to 22.5 hours a week. Time outside class is spent preparing lessons, marking work and exams, and attending meetings.
Teachers spend most of their time indoors in classrooms, but also work in halls, gyms, laboratories or music rooms. Some of their time is spent outdoors, when supervising sports and games.
To be a schoolteacher you should:
Most secondary teachers in Scotland work in state schools, although some teach in independent schools. They vary from large city comprehensives with around 1,000 students to small single teacher schools in remote areas.
It is possible to progress to become a principal teacher or chartered teacher. Promotion is then to deputy headteacher and headteacher.
Some experienced teachers specialise in teaching pupils with special educational needs or in private tuition.
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