What Are the General Activities & Duties of a High School Teacher?


High school teachers play an essential role in a student’s preparation for life after graduation. The job of a high school teacher can be varied and complex. Not only are they responsible for instructing students and grading mountains of papers, but they’re also required to spend time planning lessons, communicating with parents about their students' progress, collaborating with colleagues and supervising students outside of the classroom.

Planning and Preparation

  • Planning and preparation comprise a large component of a teacher’s responsibilities. High school teachers are expected to be experts in their field of study and effective lessons require a great deal of planning. Depending on the school, teachers may be required to submit lesson plans weeks or even months in advance. Teachers must also spend time preparing and copying worksheets and other homework assignments, tests and projects.


  • Delivering instruction and working with students, as well as managing and disciplining their behavior takes up the largest chunk of a high school teacher’s day. High school teachers may teach different classes to different grade levels or teach the same material to several different classes. Over the course of a school day, they may lecture, supervise group work or labs, give tests, review homework or test results and hold one-one-one conferences with students.

Professional Development

  • No matter what grade level they teach, all teachers are generally required to attend periodic professional development meetings. Known as “in-service” days, professional development can focus on collaboration with colleagues, presentations by educational experts or curriculum design. Teachers also may be required to attend off-campus conferences or seminars, deliver presentations to colleagues, or take additional college courses to maintain their certifications.


  • In addition to their instructional duties, teachers can be required to serve as lunch or hall monitors, to supervise a study hall, or to monitor students during assemblies or events such as field trips, dances, pep rallies and sporting events. Moreover, high school teachers are often encouraged or required to serve as sponsors for extracurricular activities. Teachers can serve as coaches, faculty sponsors for clubs or advisors to yearbook or newspaper production staffs. These positions typically require commitment beyond the average school day.

Faculty and Parent Meetings

  • Teachers are required to attend regular faculty meetings with their principals and colleagues. They are also expected to participate in welcome nights, open houses and parent-teacher conferences when appropriate. Depending on the subject and grade level they teach, high school teachers also may be asked to attend special meetings with administrators, parents and students about topics such as graduation, financial aid or student safety.

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