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What is it like to teach English at the high school and college level?

My goal is to become an English teacher. I was planning on pursuing high school but someone suggested college. Since I haven't been to college yet I don't know what teachers are like there. Hearing about different experiences from teaching different levels would help me decide which I would like to pursue. #education #higher-education #women-in-higher-ed #english #college-jobs


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William’s Answer

Hi Sabrina,


Great question! I'm not an English Teacher myself, but I went through undergrad and pursued a BFA in English Literature, so I've had the opportunity to connect with a lot of professors in the field.


I think one thing to keep in mind, is that no matter what option you peruse--whether it is to teach at a high school or college--is that you'll potentially find more passionate students in specialized courses, rather than generalized ones. A population of passionate students can make or break a class you're in, and will determine the pace and what the professor gets to cover. If you're passionate about Shakespeare, for example, and you have the opportunity to teach the plays you really enjoy, then I think you'll have a great time! Just remember, you'll always have classes that you like better than others, but if you find the subjects in English that you're passionate about, then I think you'll enjoy teaching High School and/or college. Keep in mind, your level of education that is required changes with where/what level you teach, so factor that into your consideration as well.


I hope this helps! Continue leveraging your resources and asking great questions, and don't feel like you have to make a decision right now. Once you start University, you'll have a lot of time to consider your options.


Will

William recommends the following next steps:

Talk to your High School teachers about their journey, and what they liked about High School.
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Schedule time with your college professors to get to know them, and have them share their story with you around why they chose College over high school.
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Your answer is great William, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work! Lindsey Manning-Djabbari BACKER

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Tamasyn’s Answer

Hi Sabrina, I think you need to ask yourself how you like to teach and what ages you relate to. I have taught high school English for 6 years and now wish to move into University/college teaching. High school is hard in the sense you do a lot other than teaching, behaviour control is huge, as is administration. College, on the o5her hand, has more of a research side to the job whereby you are doing your own research papers and securing funding for the university; in either, actual teaching is about 50% of your time. I LOVE teaching, but my passion is adolescents so I would advise you to think about what age group you relate to more strongly. Some ages may be more or difficult to gain respect from depending on your own age when you qualify. Furthermore, high school teaching is more based around activities and online learning now in the 21st century, student directed and paced, less and less teaching at the whiteboard. College is likely to be more direct instruction (lecturing) and tutorials. You also have more responsibility to students at high school, in my country, than those at University which can equate to pressure for you to MAKE SURE the students succeed at all costs. This appears to be less of a pressure at University. Hope this helps. Teaching is great!


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