to Teach Middle or High School
High school teachers, and most middle school teachers, hold single
subject credentials. The single subject credential authorizes the
individual to teach in the subject identified on the credential
in grades K-12. So while most single subject credential holders
teach at the middle school or high school levels, some teach in
the lower grades. For example, many music teachers who teach at
elementary schools hold single subject credentials.
The professional teacher must possess expertise in two broad categories
- Subject Matter: The teacher must be competent and knowledgeable
in the subject(s) he/she teaches. The high school or middle school
English teacher must be knowledgeable about composition, oral
communication, literature, and grammar. The high school or middle
school mathematics teacher must have a solid knowledge base in
the various areas in math such as number theory, algebra, geometry,
statistics, measurement, and calculus.
- Pedagogy: The teacher must be competent and skilled in
the professional methods of teaching. The teacher must understand
how to teach students with diverse abilities, learning styles
and backgrounds. The professional understands and uses appropriate
strategies for managing classroom behavior.
Undergraduates who are planning to teach middle school or high
school should intentionally select General Education courses and
a major that develops subject matter knowledge in the subject they
will teach. In some cases, such as English, the selection of general
education courses is not critical as the major will provide ample
subject matter preparation. In other cases, such as social science,
no one major provides all of the subject matter preparation required;
students should choose General Education courses that supplement
their subject matter preparation in the areas not covered by the
Current teaching credential requirements include demonstration
of subject matter knowledge and teaching skills.