Secondary school teachers are trained to teach one or more subjects to students in Years 7 to 12 (typically aged between 11 and 18). In NSW public schools, there are eight key areas of study, including mathematics, science, human society and its environment, technological and applied sciences, English, creative and performing arts, languages, and personal development, health and physical education.
Secondary teachers are generally experts in their chosen subjects and have a strong desire to share their knowledge of their subjects with adolescents.
Types of secondary teachers
Great mathematics teachers have an impact well beyond the classroom. They equip students with the creative, critical and logical reasoning skills necessary for the changing workforce.
Evolving approaches to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education are changing the way mathematics is viewed and taught. Teachers can expect to integrate interactive and project-based learning into their lessons.
Mathematics teachers in NSW public schools teach a common course to students in Years 7 to 8 and a range of courses to students in Years 9 to 12. The variety of courses provides teachers with flexibility in their teaching and opportunities for professional growth.
It is an exciting time to be involved in mathematics education and dedicated, creative, and talented mathematics teachers are in high demand.
Science teachers change the way students see the world around them. They help develop students’ processing, reasoning, and critical thinking skills essential for every aspect of their lives.
Science lessons are theory and practice based allowing teachers to experiment with a range of pedagogies. Science teachers in NSW public schools teach science as an integrated subject to students in Years 7 to 10 and a range of science courses to students in Years 11 to 12, including biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, physics and senior science.
In the rapidly changing world skilled science teachers who are approved to teach physics are in high demand.
Find out how you can get paid to study to become a science (with physics) teacher in NSW public schools!
Human society and its environment (HSIE)
The HSIE course includes a variety of subjects such as Aboriginal studies, business studies, commerce, economics, geography, history, legal studies, society and culture, and religion. In years 7-10 history and geography are mandatory for all students.
Technological and applied studies (TAS)
Teach in one of the fastest growing and innovative subject areas. TAS incorporates diverse and cutting edge subjects which are both theory and practice based.
TAS teachers are one of the inventive driving forces in schools. They foster creative, lateral and innovative thinking skills in their students to prepare them for an ever-changing workforce.
Teachers need to stay up-to-date with diverse technological applications to support the dynamic learners of TAS. They teach a range of creative and practical subjects including agriculture, industrial technology, design and technology, engineering studies, food technology, and software design. Students in NSW public schools complete a mandatory technology course in Years 7 and 8.
TAS teachers who are approved to teach design and technology in combination with engineering studies or industrial technology (timber, metal or graphics) are high-demand teachers in NSW public schools.
Find out how you can get paid to study to become a TAS teacher in NSW public schools!
English is taught from Kindergarten through to Year 12, and is a compulsory subject for the Higher School Certificate (HSC). Many English teachers also have approval to teach a related subject, such as drama or history.
Creative and performing arts
Creative and performing arts teachers generally specialise in teaching dance, drama, music, photographic and digital media, and visual arts to students in Years 7-12.
All NSW public school students are required to study a second language in the early years of high school. Students in Years 7-12 can also undertake additional languages study. There are currently more than 30 languages available at HSC level, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Personal development, health and physical education (PDHPE)
PDHPE teachers in NSW public schools teach PDHPE as an integrated subject to students in Years 7 to 10 and a personal development and health education course to Years 11 to 12. They may also teach a range of additional courses to students in Years 11 to 12, including community and family studies, exploring early childhood, physical activity and sports studies, and sport, lifestyle and recreation.
Special Education (K-12)
Special education teachers play an integral role in NSW public schools. They teach, support and nurture students with a range of abilities.
Schools need highly intuitive, adaptable, and dedicated special education teachers to fulfil this high demand career option in NSW public schools.
Special education teachers are qualified to teach students (Kindergarten to Year 12) who have additional learning and support needs. They develop and deliver specialised learning programs for students who have a range of physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Explore special education teaching.
Find out how you can get paid to study to become a special education teacher in NSW public schools!
School counsellors play a unique and rewarding role in NSW public schools by providing support, counselling, and psychological assessment for students with specific needs.
School counsellors are advocates for the wellbeing of their students. School counsellors work with students of all ages and their families, from Kindergarten to Year 12 and provide counselling and psychological assessment for students with specific needs.
Schools need empathetic listeners who possess excellent communication and relationship building skills and school counsellors are in high demand.
School counsellors are trained primary or secondary teachers who have completed approved psychology studies. To become a school counsellor you will need an accredited degree in education as well as in psychology and post-graduate qualifications in school counselling. Explore school counselling.
A sponsored training program is available to current teachers who would like to become a school counsellor.
Role and responsibilities
Secondary school teachers are experts in their subject areas and, therefore, must keep up-to-date with developments in their subject area, including new resources, teaching methods and curriculum changes.
A typical work day for a secondary teacher in a NSW public school may involve:
- Preparing and teaching a range of lessons to different ages and abilities (up to six different Years levels from 7 to 12)
- Using a variety of methods, including formal lessons, discussions, practical activities, experiments, assessments and excursions to engage students and enhance their learning experiences
- Preparing, setting and marking assessments, including providing feedback
- Assessing, evaluating and recording student development
- Teaching additional classes when other teachers are absent
- Encouraging students to maintain effective study habits
- Implementing classroom management practices
- Discussing students' development with parents
- Supervising students outside the classroom (e.g. during breaks)
- Undertaking professional development
- Attending staff meetings
- Assisting with organising sporting activities, excursions and other extracurricular activities
- Networking with other teachers, particularly those who teach the same subjects
To become a secondary teacher, you will need to complete at least four years of tertiary study at a recognised university or higher education institution. Your studies will need to include an accredited teacher education program and adequate study of the subject(s) you would like to teach. Appropriate teacher education courses include:
- a Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
- a combined or double degree, such as a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Education (Secondary)
- an undergraduate degree and an accredited graduate entry teaching degree, such as a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) or a Master of Teaching (Secondary).
Find out what secondary teachers get paid in NSW public schools.
Find out how to become a teacher in NSW public schools.