Journalism Teacher Job Description, Education, Training Requirements, Career, Salary, Employment

Job Description: English teachers teach grammar, writing and literature. Some English teachers also teach creative writing electives or journalism classes. Many advise students in related extra-curricular activities such as publishing a school newspaper or literary magazine.

Training and Educational Qualifications: Requirements for licenses to teach kindergarten through grade 12 vary by state. However, all states require general education teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed an approved teacher training program with a prescribed number of subject credits as well as supervised practice teaching. Some states also require technology training and the attainment of a minimum GPA. A number of states require that teachers obtain a master’s degree in education within a specified period after they begin teaching.

Job Outlook: Through 2016, overall student enrollment in elementary, middle, and secondary schools a key factor in the demand for teachers is expected to rise more slowly than in the past as children of the baby boom generation leave the school system. Projected enrollments will vary by region. Fast-growing states in the West particularly California, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, Utah, and New Mexico will experience the largest enrollment increases. Enrollments in the South will increase at a more modest rate, while those in the Northeast and Midwest are expected to hold relatively steady.

Salary: Median annual earnings of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers range from $43,580 to $48,690; the lowest 10 percent earn $28,590 to $33,070; the top 10 percent earn $67,490 to $76,100.

According to the American Federation of Teachers, beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $31,753.

The estimated average salary of all public elementary and secondary school teachers was $47,602. Private school teachers generally earn less than public school teachers, but may be given other benefits such as free or subsidized housing.

Significant Facts:

•    In addition to conducting classroom activities, teachers oversee homerooms, supervise extra-curricular activities, and accompany students on field trips.

•    Public school teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program and be licensed.

•    Many states offer alternative licensing programs to attract people to the field of teaching.

Did you have an internship in this field prior to starting your job?

Student teaching during college a college senior assumes duties and responsibilities of classroom teacher over the course of a semester as part of becoming a teacher.

Where are the best cities to live to find jobs like yours?

Everywhere.

What is your typical day like?

I teach English and Shakespeare through Performance from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then I coach a two-hour practice as a part-time college swimming coach. I teach four sections of eleventh grade English literature as well as two honors classes.

What are your job responsibilities?

All facets of English education. I teach grammar, writing, literature, vocabulary and understanding Shakespeare through performing his plays on the stage.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I get paid to talk about my favorite things to people who have to listen. When students are open, willing, and ready to learn, giving them the opportunity to make a connection between the characters from a Shakespeare play and modern society today is a great feeling.

What do you dislike about your job?

Paperwork, forms, bureaucracy.

Have you had any turning-point or “light bulb” moments in your career that have helped you get to where you are today?

I studied with Shakespeare and Company, a theater company in Lenox, Massachusetts, in the summer of 2003. That experience affected both my teaching and coaching. It was a performance company that had a strong education philosophy and taught how to teach Shakespeare through performance; specifically, the experience taught me how to take

Shakespeare’s language and remove the ostentatiousness to see it in a different light. His plays were never intended to be read silently it is an interesting literary pursuit to read them but someone reading the lines is more true to the meaning of his plays.

How did you know you wanted to pursue this career?

I took education classes in college because they came easy to me and helped keep my GPA up. By the end of school, I realized that I only needed to student teach and pass a few tests to get certified. The district where I student taught had some openings over the next few years and the rest is history.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

Getting the Shakespeare class going has also been a highlight for me. It was passed over three times before acceptance. We changed principals and the new principal was intrigued by the class. He allowed me to go into the classroom and pitch the class to the kids. Many people said “No kid is willing to study Shakespeare.” But they were. And they did choose to study this with me. They are very happy to be in the class; they are having fun and learning. Since the goal of the class is to better understand Shakespeare through performing the plays and scenes, we do memorize the lines and perform in class everyday. The first quarter they only perform in front of classmates. The second quarter they perform in front of an audience without costumes or scenery. They learn that the language can convey the meaning when it is spoken correctly and enacted on the stage.

If you weren’t doing this job, what similar careers might you consider?

I think that I need to interact with people and teach or show them something. I would be very poor at sales, but I probably would be a good presenter or something similar to that. I’d certainly perish in an office and would love, love, love to be an actor.

To what professional associations do you belong?

The Pennsylvania Teachers’ Union.

What advice do you have for others who would like to pursue this career?

Teaching is much more difficult than it appears. The part we all remember as students is the easy part. The planning and grading along with the adapting to changes is far more challenging.

Do you know of which companies have the best internships in this field that are known to help launch a successful career?

lb be a journalist or a journalism teacher, the best place to intern would be at a specific media company. I think radio is probably one of the easier internships to get, but all forms of media need and use interns, whether it’s TV, newspapers, magazines or publishing companies.

Where are the best cities to live to find jobs like yours?

States with strong university journalism programs probably also have strong high school journalism programs. For example, the University of Missouri has one of the top-rated journalism schools in the United States, so scholastic journalism is very strong in high schools in St. Louis, Kansas City and even in smaller towns in Missouri. Other states that have strong scholastic journalism traditions are Kansas, Texas, Indiana, California, New York and Virginia, but journalism teachers are needed in every high school in the US. Public schools are likely to have more extensive journalism programs than private schools. Each high school usually only has one or two journalism advisors.

What is your typical day like?

Many journalism advisors teach English classes, and though I have in the past, I do not now. I usually arrive at school about 1.5 hours before it begins and work with students on their layouts, stories or photo assignments. I teach a photojournalism class, a yearbook class, and a broadcast news class that produces an eight-minute news and feature show once a week. I usually stay after school to work with students or allow them time to work on their assignments.

What are your job responsibilities?

I teach journalism lessons to students on such topics as journalism law and ethics, writing, photography and digital video/photo editing. I help students one-on-one with their tasks. I manage the budgets of the yearbook and the broadcast news class.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Working one on one with students in a more relaxed environment.

What do you dislike about your job?

The pressure of deadlines.

Have you had any turning-point or “light bulb” moments in your career that have helped you get to where you are today?

When I moved from Kansas City to St. Louis, I applied for both English and journalism teaching jobs. I was offered a job at a school teaching only English and a job teaching only journalism. I realized that I had developed a passion for teaching journalism, more so than English, so that’s the path I took.

How did you know you wanted to pursue this career?

I really like the significance of journalism, the idea of sharing human stories and helping people understand each other. I feel that journalism is a wonderful way to learn about so many fields of study, from politics to sociology to sports. It’s also a great way to teach organization, writing and creativity. Kids love journalism classes because they are so hands-on. I just see so much purpose in teaching students to be journalists.

How did you get into this industry?

I wanted to teach English and when I was offered a job at a good school on the condition that I would advise the newspaper, I agreed. I had no journalism experience except writing for the yearbook in high school.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

I’ve had several: helping a student get an internship at a radio station that turned into a career for him; watching one of my students spend all of her extra time making a documentary just for her own satisfaction; knowing that one of my students wants to be a journalism teacher just like me; watching my students win awards at conferences; and earning my master’s degree in journalism/English education.

If you weren’t doing this job, what similar careers might you consider?

I would try to write for magazines, work behind the scenes in television news, copy edit or do photography. I also coach volleyball and would definitely explore a coaching job.

To what professional associations do you belong?

I’m the co-president of the local scholastic journalism advisor’s organization, Sponsors of School Publications (SSP). I also belong to the Journalism Education Association (JEA), Missouri Interscholastic Press

Association (MIPA), National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), and Student Television Network (STN).

What professional publications do you read?

I subscribe to Communication: Journalism Education Today, JEAs publication, as well as the Student Press Law Center’s (SPLC) publication on press law. I frequent Poynter.org, a resource for journalists; http:// jea.org, JEAs Web site; www.rtndf.org, Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s Web site; http://www.studenttelevision.com, STN’s Web site; http://splc.org, SPLC’s Web site; and http://www. nationalgeographic.com for photography ideas. Our local organization also has a Web site, http://ssp-stl.org. I used to frequent http://high-schooljournalism.org, the Web site of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

What advice do you have for others who would like to pursue this career?

Major in journalism in a state that provides journalism certification for teachers (not all states do). Definitely get some real-life experience in the field of journalism.