What Makes a Great English Teacher?

The best English teachers combine their love of language and literature with an innate knack for helping young people develop their reading comprehension, writing and grammar, listening skills and visual skills.

English teachers can find work in middle schools, high schools and colleges. English teachers usually develop and follow lesson plans, grade papers, assign reading and work to enhance their students’ literacy and language development. This career in education also has much room for advancement and is perfect for those who have a passion for teaching the professionals of tomorrow.

Here’s a closer look at the education requirements, career options and career outlook and salary info that the average English teacher can expect:

Education Requirements

While all that’s needed to teach English in public schools is a bachelor’s degree in education and a state teaching license/certificate, many school districts prefer teachers who either have a master’s degree or are willing to earn one after they are hired.

Each state his its own requirements for teachers to become licensed, and some school boards may have their own rules, so all would-be English teachers should be sure to know the minimum requirements. Furthermore, accreditation from NBPTS for English language arts can also help boost professional stock. This certification is good for 10 years.

Those who plan to teach at the college level often have to earn a doctorate or at least a master’s degree.

Career Options

While English teachers commonly teach in middle schools and high schools, those aren’t the only options. For instance, English teachers can pursue teaching at the university level, which comes with a larger paycheck, tenure and other benefits beyond what a public school district can offer.

Those who wish to keep teaching in public schools have many opportunities. For instance, English teachers can teach AP, or advanced placement, English classes, which have a heavy focus on college preparation. Teaching these types of classes can be very rewarding and challenging.

What to Consider if You Become an English Teacher

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teacher jobs are expected to grow in the foreseeable future: Middle school jobs are expected to expand by 17 percent by 2020, while  high school teaching jobs are expected to grow by 7 percent over the same time period.  The BLS says the median annual middle school teacher salary is $51,960 and the median annual high school teacher salary is $53,230. These numbers vary by school district, geographical location, the teachers’ level of education and their seniority in the school system.

Another thing to consider when pursuing an English teaching job is the intangibles. For middle school and high school teachers, the biggest fringe benefit is the vacation time. Public school teachers get, for the most part, the same vacation time as their students. This means a summer vacation, Christmas break, spring break and time off for Thanksgiving and other holidays. All in all, that’s roughly three to four months of time off.

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