Secondary Teacher

Secondary school teachers work in junior high schools (years 7 – 10), middle schools (years 5 – 8), senior high schools (years 11 – 12) or general high schools (years 7 – 12). Secondary teachers specialise in one or more teaching subject areas; these subject area titles may vary from state to state. The role of the teacher is varied and includes:

  • plan and develop long-term teaching programs, including daily lessons, according to the curriculum guidelines and student/community needs
  • teach lessons or units of work using a range of teaching methods and strategies - formal lessons, practical projects, experiments and activities, excursions – while utilising information technologies
  • assess, evaluate and report on student progress and performance
  • supervise students during lunch time and other breaks; coordinate student extra-curricular activities
  • contribute to area of specialty and whole school direction by attending staff meetings and professional development programs
  • participate in parent and community events including Parent Teacher Evenings, School Council Committees

Training to become a secondary teacher requires an accredited undergraduate teaching program that satisfies the relevant state accrediting body or a three year degree followed by a postgraduate accredited teaching training program.


The key learning area specialities in NSW secondary public schools:

Art Teacher / Visual Arts Teacher

Art Teacher / Visual Arts Teachers may work in secondary schools and colleges or in private art schools. In secondary schools, art teachers are expected to teach across a range of art specialties including art history, art theory and art practice in various media. Some schools may employ art teachers in specialty areas such as digital media, ceramics and painting.

English Teacher

English is a compulsory subject for all students. English teachers play a key role in enabling students to become confident communicators who can think critically and imaginatively. English include the study of modern and historical texts (eg Shakespeare) as well as everyday and workplace texts. Many teachers choose to combine English with a related subject such as drama or history.

Geography Teacher

Geography Teachers teach both physical and human geography content. Geography teachers with a human geography background may also teach other related subjects such as Society and Culture.

History Teacher

History Teachers may teach either modern and ancient specialisations or both. History teachers are expected to teach a range of historical periods and geographies, for example ancient Roman history, the Second World War and Australian history. Many history teachers train in another teaching area such as English which increases their flexibility and employability in schools.

HSIE Teacher (Human Society and its Environment)

HSIE Teacher (Human Society and its Environment) – includes specialisations in Aboriginal Studies, Ancient History, Business Studies, Commerce, Economics, Geography, Legal Studies, Modern History, Studies of Religion, and Society and Culture. Many teachers combine their subject areas with another, for example Modern History and English or Geography and Society and Culture. In smaller schools there may be an expectation that some of these areas be taught by the same staff, for example Business Studies, Commerce, Economics and Legal Studies.

Language Teacher

 There are currently more than 30 languages available at Higher School Certificate level in NSW public schools, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish.

Mathematics Teacher

Mathematics is taught in all years with a common course for years 7-8 and a range of courses for years 9-12. The curriculum covers a broad range of mathematics ranging from elementary to advanced levels.

Music Teacher

Music Teachers may work in secondary schools and colleges or in private music schools. In secondary schools, music teachers are expected to teach across a range of music specialities including music history, music theory, music writing and production. Some schools may employ music teachers in specialty areas such as voice or choir, band or orchestra, and specialist instrument teacher (strings or wood wind etc).

PDHPE Teacher

PDHPE teachers cover a broad range of areas and subjects including: physical activity and sports studies; sport, lifestyle and recreation, community and family studies. PDHPE is taught as an integrated subject for years 7-10 and as specialist subjects in years 11-12.

Science Teacher

Science is taught as an integrated subject in years 7-10 with specialist subjects on offer to years 11-12 in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics or Senior Science.

Technology Teacher

Technology Teaching includes Agriculture, Industrial Design/Technology, Design and Technology, Engineering Studies, Food Technology (Home Economics), Software Design.


For detailed information on the content involved in each of these specialities in NSW see NSW Board of Studies syllabuses sites for the School Certificate and the HSC