Skills Secondary School Teacher in the Edmundston–Woodstock Region

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a secondary school teacher in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Secondary school teachers (NOC 4031).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Assign and correct homework
  • Prepare and deliver presentations at conferences, workshops and symposia
  • Prepare subject material for presentation according to an approved curriculum
  • Teach students through lectures, discussions, audio-visual presentations and laboratory, shop and field studies
  • Evaluate the progress of students and discuss results with students, parents and school officials
  • Develop course content
  • Provide tutoring assistance
  • Participate in staff meetings, educational conferences and teacher training workshops
  • Prepare, administer and correct tests

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

Reading
  • Read comments, explanations, and instructions on forms. For example, they may read descriptions of responsibilities and liabilities that the school and teachers assume when they plan international student trips. (2)
  • Read e-mail and short memos. They read e-mail about students' assignments, students' achievements, curricular matters, school events and education resources from students, parents, colleagues, co-workers, suppliers and school administrators. They read memos about policy and procedure changes, notices of staff meetings, news of upcoming school events and details of students' progress from school board staff, school administrators and other teachers. (2)
  • Read policy and procedure manuals, curriculum guides, performance standards and other documents which specify teaching procedures, curriculum content and assessment criteria. For example, teachers read curriculum guides which describe course objectives, teaching approaches, specific curriculum content, compulsory and optional activities and assessment standards. They read policy and procedure manuals which describe schools' missions, values and philosophies of education, academic requirements and academic policies on student evaluations, student records, course changes and course limitations. (3)
  • Read articles in education journals on topics such as teaching assignments, classroom management techniques and professionalism. For example, teachers may read articles such as Including Exceptional Students: A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers in Educational Forum. (3)
  • Read a variety of textbooks, literature and criticism to gain subject expertise and to select materials for classroom study. For example, a mathematics teacher reads sections of a calculus and analytic geometry textbook before teaching an introductory unit on calculus. An English teacher reads Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism to find specific examples to illustrate a thematic unit exploring the concept of forgiveness in Canadian literature. (4)
  • May read, interpret and critique literary, historic and religious texts. For example, a social studies teacher teaching a unit on the Caribbean explores the themes of oppression and slavery using texts as diverse as the Book of Psalms and the lyrics of reggae hits such as By the Rivers of Babylon. An English teacher reads a Shakespearean sonnet and considers the complexity of language and imagery employed when preparing lessons to impart knowledge. (5)
Document use
  • Locate times, dates and other data in class timetables, extra-curricular activity schedules and examination schedules. (1)
  • Mark attendance records and enter student data such as absences and marks into classroom registers, reporting forms and database entry forms. (1)
  • Complete requisition forms for supplies and may read equipment catalogues when purchasing new equipment. (2)
  • Complete and review trip authorization and consent forms. They enter details of schedules, transportation arrangements, costs, relevance to learning outcomes, supervision arrangements, emergency procedures, risk assessments and legal responsibilities of parents, teachers and school administrators. (3)
  • Enter student identification numbers, marks, comments, teacher recommendations, course evaluation results and other data into progress reports, report cards, behaviour management forms and class management software such as Markbook 2003. (3)
  • Complete detailed planning documents established by school administrations to ensure quality teaching. For example, they may complete yearly course plans incorporating monthly timelines, topics, concepts, resources, instructional procedures and methods and evaluation techniques. Secondary school teachers in some contexts may prepare individualized program plans for gifted or special needs students identifying long terms goals, short-term objectives, students' assessments, students' strengths and needs, programming options, classroom accommodations, evaluation procedures, results and recommendations. (4)
  • May teach students to search, enter data and analyze a variety of complex documents central to their subject areas. Woodworking and industrial arts teachers teach students drafting and scale drawing fundamentals. Social studies and geography teachers may teach students about map projections, longitude and latitude coordinates and gazetteers. Math teachers display mathematical functions as graphs. (5)
Writing
  • Write e-mail to teachers, administrators and parents about students, field trips and administrative matters. (1)
  • Write brief comments about students' academic achievement and scholarly progress on a variety of documents. For example, they write comments on students' assignments offering criticism and encouragement. They write comments on report cards comparing students' achievement to expected standards and class norms. (2)
  • Write longer e-mail messages, memos and short reports to principals and school administrators about students' attendance, behaviours and achievements. For example, they may write a report to their principals to document bullying incidents and fights. (2)
  • Write letters to parents, school administrators and staff at other educational institutions. For example, a physics teacher may write a letter of recommendation to support a student's applications for university admission. A physical education teacher may write a letter to parents to inform them of basketball league activities and outline expectations such as playing all games in the schedule. (2)
  • Write short curriculum materials such as course descriptions, descriptions of supplementary resources, assignments and examinations. They write course descriptions which summarize course content, expectations and evaluation procedures for students. They must present expectations within assignments and examinations clearly and succinctly if students are to respond as expected. (3)
  • May write lengthy curriculum reviews and proposals to create new courses. They may include literature reviews, study findings, analyses of options, recommendations and persuasive arguments geared to specific audiences such as school administrators, school boards and ministries of education. (4)
  • May teach and model writing styles and genres specific to their subject areas. English and language arts teachers may write model essays or demonstrate literary forms such as Haiku and blank verse. Chemistry and physics teachers model the structure, content and style of lab reports and research summaries. Social studies teachers model the structure, content and referencing techniques of essays and research reports. (5)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Collect payments and fees for school trips, outings, books, school supplies and school activities. They count, document and verify the money being collected, reconcile cash and cheques to records and may make bank deposits. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Set timelines for courses indicating time periods for various curriculum sections or objectives, assignment due dates, test dates and dates for activities such as labs and field trips. They create monthly and weekly class schedules to show when specific activities are planned. They also draw up work schedules for science fairs and other events such as theatrical productions. They determine the time required by considering the amount and type of content, the learning objectives and their previous scheduling experience. (3)
  • May prepare annual budgets for textbooks and supplies, comparing prices in order to get the best prices. Industrial arts and physical education teachers at larger schools often have substantial budgets for consumable shop supplies, equipment and transportation. (4)
  • May teach scheduling and budgeting techniques specific to the subject areas they teach. For example, home economics teachers and school counsellors may teach personal finance management. Business teachers may teach small business accounting methods. Woodworking and industrial arts teachers may teach project planning, scheduling and budgeting skills. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure students' achievement. They design marking schemes, develop rating scales and create tests. They assign weighted values, add scores and calculate percentages. For example, a chemistry teacher may measure students' achievement by writing, administering and marking a multiple choice test. (2)
  • May calculate the areas of irregular shapes when instructing students. For example, math teachers instruct students how to calculate the areas of trapezoids, cubes and prisms. (3)
  • May teach advanced measurement and calculation techniques specific to the subject areas they teach. For example, science teachers may instruct students how to measure wavelengths, distances between planets, pendulum periods, pyramid volumes and solution strengths using formulae. Automotive teachers may teach students to use callipers to measure engine parts and clearances between gears. (5)
Data Analysis Math
  • Develop statistical descriptions of classroom tests they have created. They calculate means and standard deviations. They may analyze the reliability, validity and discrimination of test items and tests by conducting a Scantron analysis of multiple choice tests to see which questions are more difficult than others. They interpret students' test marks in relationship to other students, to whole classes and to other schools in their districts. (4)
  • May teach correlation, causal relationship and other statistical methods specific to the subject areas they teach. For example, social studies teachers may teach students to generate demographic statistics to describe local populations using census data. Physical education and health teachers may teach students how to analyze Statistics Canada graphs and data to determine the health risks for selected age categories. (5)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times needed for students to write tests, read stimulus materials and complete in-class assignments. (1)
  • Estimate quantities of teaching materials and supplies required for particular classes. They consider numbers of students and anticipated usage. (1)
  • Estimate times needed to teach particular topics. They consider the amount of content to be covered, the numbers of students, the difficulty of the topics and previous experiences. They alter teaching schedules to handle disruptions and delays but must cover all prescribed curriculum within specified times. (2)
Oral communication
  • Interact with other teachers to discuss students' performance and other mutual concerns. They may discuss subjects such as curriculum, new programs, administrative matters, field trips and student progress at regularly scheduled staff meetings. (2)
  • Interact with school principals to discuss workload, receive direction, air concerns such as classroom overcrowding and request resources. (2)
  • Discuss students' ideas and aspirations, answer their questions and provide guidance, encouragement and assistance. Teachers adjust their approaches to suit the students and the topics being discussed. (3)
  • Discuss students' academic progress, social concerns and other school-related issues with parents. Parents may be disappointed, distressed and angry when their children fail to do well academically, exhibit behavioural problems and are expelled and suspended. Teachers must often use tact and compassion while interacting with parents. (3)
  • May speak to teaching assistants and interns to demonstrate how tasks are to be performed in the classroom and to provide experiential instruction to interns about teaching topics like instructional methods and styles, how to prepare for lessons and tips for objective grading. (3)
  • May make presentations to large groups. For example, they may make presentations about graduation plans, school theatrical productions and student safety to all school students during assemblies. They make presentations to large groups of parents during orientation sessions outlining program expectations, extracurricular activities and school calendars. (3)
  • Teach academic subjects to high school students. They must demonstrate extensive subject area knowledge and enthusiasm for their academic disciplines. They consider the capabilities and characteristics of their students in order to select the most appropriate teaching methods. They organize the subject matter so that it is easily understood by students and adapt presentation styles as necessary to ensure students' interest and comprehension. (4)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Encounter students who misbehave in class, break school rules, skip class, arrive late for class, disrupt the class, don't do their homework and plagiarize others' work. They inform students how to correct the inappropriate behaviours and assist students to come up with their own solutions. If students do not correct the behaviours and if the problems are serious and continuous, teachers may report inappropriate behaviours to administration or contact parents. (2)
  • May teach in overcrowded classrooms and laboratories with too few resources. For example, a chemistry teacher has insufficient laboratory space and equipment for a large class of students. The teacher asks students to share equipment, spends more time with the students who require more help and lets the better students work more on their own. The chemistry teacher brings the overcrowding to the attention of administration and asks for the class size to be reduced. (2)
  • May teach students with personal and family situations that negatively affect their school performance. For example, teachers encounter students experiencing unwanted pregnancies and family violence. They discuss these situations with students, provide emotional support and follow school policies for handling these difficult situations. Secondary school teachers may refer students to guidance counsellors for further assistance. (3)
  • May encounter students who cannot keep pace with their classmates because they struggle academically and lack the foundational skills required to succeed in their courses. For example, math teachers may have students who missed basic math concepts in previous grades. Teachers speak with students' parents and administration to identify the potential causes of the academic deficiencies and develop plans for improvement. They may spend additional time reviewing fundamentals to help students catch up with important subject matter. (3)
Decision Making
  • Select evaluation schemes for their classes. For example, they decide how many marks to award for course elements such as class discussions, tests, assignments and laboratory exercises. They assign weighted scores to course elements according to their importance. They also try to provide a variety of opportunities for students to obtain formative assessment results. (2)
  • May choose to organize and lead extracurricular activities such as chess clubs, science clubs, football leagues and theatrical presentations. (2)
  • Decide which texts and resource materials to use for their courses. They consider curriculum guidelines set by school districts and education ministries, their personal preferences, students' abilities and interests, costs, availability, format, and the usefulness of materials. For example, a math teacher may decide to use particular educational software and student workbooks to teach algebra. An English teacher may decide to assign articles and short stories for reading comprehension. An economics teacher may give students the choice between assigning textbook reading or Web site review to learn about economic trends. (3)
  • Choose reward and disciplinary systems and actions. For example, teachers may decide to initiate positive reinforcement systems to encourage positive student behaviours. They choose the types of disciplinary actions to take when students misbehave and decide when to involve school administrators and parents. They consider school policies, the seriousness of the students' actions and students' previous histories. (3)
  • Decide which learning methods to use. They choose methods that fit each lessons' learning objectives, students' learning styles and teaching resources available. For example, to teach in large group settings they may select lectures, student presentations, and group discussions. For individualized instruction they may select methods such as individual projects, directed reading, learning activity packets, and computer assisted learning. In laboratory settings they may select teaching methods such as demonstrations, experiments and individual and small group projects. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate students' academic performance using well-defined objective and subjective criteria. They evaluate students' assignments, tests, participation levels and attitudes against established criteria and compare students' tests results to class means and medians and to district or provincial standards. (2)
  • Evaluate the success of courses they have taught to identify good and bad features. They design and administer course evaluation forms and analyze the data. They talk to students individually and in groups. They review statistics such as class marks and drop out rates. (3)
  • Assess the suitability and relevance of curriculum goals and curriculum content. Teachers may lead curriculum reviews to ensure curriculum is current, relevant and age-appropriate. They consider research in their subject areas, data from other jurisdictions, input from other educators, parents and students. They review content analyses conducted by subject matter experts. They may need to support controversial curriculum reviews. For example, they may have to support sex education programs that are unpopular with some parents. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Secondary school teachers plan and organize their courses and lesson plans within ministerial curriculum standards and established school patterns and timetables. They develop course outlines and plan monthly, weekly and daily outlines. Although following lesson plans is a priority, they must be flexible enough to deal with disruptions and students' questions. Secondary school teachers may organize school events such as science fairs, theatrical and musical productions, student clubs and sporting events related to their specific subjects. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Secondary school teachers prepare daily lesson plans for substitute teachers. Teachers who are department and committee chairs may plan the work of other teachers. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Memorize the names of students in their classes.
Finding Information
  • Find information about students in school databases, cumulative records, test scores, assignments and creative writing projects. They also obtain information about students from discussions with students, parents and other teachers. (2)
  • Obtain current information about social trends, science and world affairs by reading magazines and browsing the Internet. They find this information to ensure that the content of their courses is up-to-date, relevant, and of interest to students. (2)
  • May offer instruction in information searching and research skills. For example, school librarians teach students how to use cataloguing systems, locate primary and secondary sources and search the Internet. (2)
Digital technology
  • May use graphics software. For example, they may use programs such as Photoshop and Quark Express to create layouts for school yearbooks and to manipulate images for inclusion in instructional materials. They may create slide presentations using presentation software such as Power Point. (2)
  • Enter students' attendance records and marks into databases, and search databases to find students records. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they exchange e-mail messages and attachments with students, staff and parents. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they search the Internet to find content for lessons. (2)
  • May use other computer and software applications. For example, they use class management software with multiple capabilities such as maintaining class lists, creating report cards, trending individual versus class performance and adjusting test weighting. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they create lesson plans, tests, assignments, classroom materials, letters of recommendation and reports using programs such as Word. They enter, edit and format text, create tables, and insert graphs and pictures into word processing documents. For larger documents, they may use headers and footers, insert page and section numbers and generate tables of contents. (3)
  • May use spreadsheet software. For example, they may create and modify spreadsheets to track textbook inventories, record, to summarize payments and to calculate students' marks. (3)
  • May use statistical software. For example, they may use software that displays test scores, calculates statistics such as means, medians, standard deviations and t-scores and generates statistical reports. (3)
  • May teach students software skills. For example, they may teach students how to use word processing software, graphics software, database software and spreadsheet software. (4)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Secondary school teachers primarily work independently to plan and teach their classes. Outside their classrooms, they participate in staff meetings with other teachers and educational assistants to co-ordinate job tasks such as hall duty and lunchroom supervision. They may co-ordinate their work with student teachers and aides who assist students with special needs, and may co-ordinate their work with guidance counsellors, social workers, educational consultants, student service coordinators, addictions counsellors and occupational therapists. Secondary school teachers may assign tasks to administrative assistants. (2)

Continuous Learning

Secondary school teachers set their own learning goals within established standards. They participate in a variety of learning opportunities such as courses offered by school districts, ministries of education, universities' faculties of education, professional associations, and subject-area associations. They join professional networks, engage in research activities and read books and journals in order to improve their practices and enhance student learning. Continuous learning is strongly promoted by governments, school boards and teachers' associations, and some provinces may require continuous learning to maintain licensure. (3)

Labour Market Information Survey
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