Teaching

Influence Lives

Perhaps you had an amazing high school English teacher who helped you love reading, and now you want to inspire others to find the same pleasure in a good book. Regardless of why you want to be a teacher, the world needs English teachers. As you think about this career choice, you might consider teaching in three different areas:


Secondary Education

With a degree in English Education, you are qualified to teach in the public school system, grades 6-12. Consider which age group is the best fit for your personality. Also, think about the subjects that you are most interested in teaching. Middle school will focus on language arts (e.g., reading and comprehension skills, basic writing). High school builds on and reviews these basic skills but might also allow some specialization.

What Can I Do Now

Graduation may be far off, but start preparing now.

Courses

Check out our advising page for recommended courses. Because you will need to meet Idaho State's education standards, you need to plan your coursework carefully. Also, think about certifications. One BYU-Idaho graduate had a degree in English with a certification in Math, and she had multiple job offers because of her range. Learn more about certification here.

Student Teaching

Typically you will student teach your final semester at the university. However, start planning ahead, as it takes almost a year to schedule your student teaching. Learn more about student teacing

Praxis

Most states require you to pass the Praxis exam as part of your certification requirement. Depending on your state's requirements, you may need to take the subject-specific Praxis, which tests your knowledge of literature genres, literary periods, and other literature-based knowledge. Or you might take the Praxis Core Academic Skills exam. Learn more about the Idaho Test Requirements here.

To prepare for the Praxis. This might sound obvious, but take careful notes in your literature classes. Many students enjoy a class discussion but don't write anything down. Can you really hold four years' worth of classes in your memory? The Praxis asks you to know different authors, literary periods, and genres. So, turn your classes in a prep course for the Praxis. Take careful notes about the Victorian era. Write down the key characteristics of Emily Dickinson's poetry, as well as her most famous poems. Keep your class notes so you can review this content as you prepare for the Praxis.


Higher Education

Do you want inspire the next generation of English majors? You might want to teach at a community college or university. If this is your goal, plan on going to graduate school. Also, think carefully about the subject that you want to teach. English breaks down in smaller subjects: composition, rhetoric, professional/technical writing, creative writing, American literature, British literature, and multi-cultural literature. As you take your classes here, explore the various subjects that you might want to teach. Also, consider the marketability of each subject. There's a greater market for composition instructors than Shakespeare professors. Don't let practicality discourage you, but be aware of the competition.

What Can I Do Now

Graduation may be far off, but start preparing now. 

Courses

Check out our advising page for recommended courses. Find out which category of English most interests you; be open to new literary genres and authors. 

Graduate School

Start planning for graduate school now. Learn more about graduate school. 

Professors

As you start thinking about graduate programs and teaching at a college or university, meet with some of your favorite professors. Ask them how they prepared for their career. Ask them what they love about their jobs. What are the challenges of being a professor? What steps do they recommend for meeting your goals? The faculty in the English department have a wide range of teaching and educational experiences, and they love to meet one-on-one to talk about your plans. Learn more about which faculty  best match your interests. Then just send an email and set up a meeting.

Work Experience

Try for a job that relates to your career goals. Here are some great on-campus job opportunities that will prepare you for a career in higher education. Check out the Student Job Board for postings in these areas:

Teaching Assistants

Work with an individual professor as a teacher's assistant. TAs will work with teachers in grading student work, conferencing with students, and even teaching a class or two. Typically, TAs will work ten hours per week, depending on the instructor's needs. If you want to be a TA, contact the specific professor you'd like to work with. Remember that any initial contact (phone or email) is like a preliminary interview. Be professional. Write an email that shows you have strong writing skills. 

Academic Support Centers

With the Academic Support Centers, you might be a writing tutor, a reading tutor, or a subject-specific tutor. You will be trained in both the subject that you tutor and how to be an effective tutor. Both skills that will help you in your career as a teacher.

Volunteer Tutor Experience

Even if you don't need a paying job, building your work experience is important. Check out these volunteer tutor experiences that you will find on campus.


Teaching English Abroad

Maybe you aren't ready for graduate school or you want some great life experiences before you settle into a more traditional career. Many BYU-Idaho English graduates teach English abroad for a semester or a year or longer. A quick Google search will show you numerous companies that are looking for English teachers. As you consider this option, be careful in selecting a reputable program. Check out this blog post, Teaching English Jobs Abroad: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It gives some great advice when choosing a teaching job.