What Are the Duties of a Language Arts Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for language arts teachers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Language Arts Teacher?

Language arts teachers help students improve their reading, writing and communication skills. Jobs are most commonly available at the middle and high school levels. Teachers may plan courses that involve lectures about grammar, group discussions of books or proofreading exercises. They may monitor student progress through assignments and tests, and they may focus their curriculum specifically to support student success on standardized tests. In addition to providing direct instruction to students, language arts teachers may have responsibilities outside the classroom, such as student supervision and school policy development and implementation.

Continue reading to learn more about what language arts teachers do and what education you need to become one, along with what kind of salary language arts teachers earn.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Field of Study Education
Key Responsibilities Lesson planning,
Classroom management,
Meeting with parents
Certification State certification required
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (middle school teachers)
6% (high school teachers)
Median Salary (2014)* $55,860 (middle school teachers)
$57,200 (high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Language Arts Teacher Do?

Many of your duties as a language arts teacher are the same as those who teach in other subject areas. In-class and classroom-related activities include devising lesson plans, delivering lectures, giving and grading assignments and exams, supervising your classroom and disciplining misbehaving students. External duties include meeting with parents to discuss student performance, attending faculty meetings, and conferring with administrators and colleagues about curriculum, resource allocation and school policy matters.

Your goal is to help students develop their writing, reading comprehension, and listening and speaking skills, with the aim of expanding their capacity to use the English language both for communication and personal enrichment. Under your guidance, students learn to conduct research, create presentations, and critique the content of texts and other media. The mix may vary by grade level, but material you cover will encompass fundamentals such as spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and grammar and sound-letter correspondence. Advanced language concepts are also important, such as style, context and conventions, genres of literature and multiple forms of non-fiction.

Where Do Professionals Work?

You are much more likely to find a language arts teaching position in middle schools and high schools, because most teachers at the elementary school level need to be generalists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of middle school teachers to increase 6%, and employment of high school teachers will increase six percent from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).

What Degree Programs are Available for Language Arts Teachers?

Becoming a teacher typically entails earning a 4-year bachelor's degree in education and completing your state's licensing requirements. A number of schools offer education programs that allow you to focus on language arts or other specialties. Curricula in these programs are designed to develop composition and computer skills, provide training in teaching methods, and impart deeper knowledge of American and world literature. Public speaking, student assessment, classroom leadership, fiction writing and non-fiction writing are a few of the subjects addressed. A majority of programs include a teaching internship in a school setting.

Teacher licensing requirements are often similar but not identical from state to state. Despite the differences, many states have reciprocity agreements to honor each other's licenses. At a minimum, you need to earn your degree, accumulate sufficient practice teaching experience, and pass competency exams in basic skills, teaching and subject matter proficiency. Some states specify a minimum grade point average and training in education technology.

What Could I Earn?

All teachers, including language arts teachers, are paid on the basis of grade-level and seniority. BLS figures from May 2015 show middle school teachers earned a median salary of $55,860, while high school teachers earned a median of $57,200. The bottom ten percent at each level earned $37,350 and $37,800 or less per year, respectively, and the top ten percent earned $87,060 and $91,190 or more.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another career track for educational professionals is a job as a school principal or director. These professionals are responsible for staff management and curriculum development in elementary, middle and high schools. It is important to note that a master's degree in educational administration and several years of teaching experience are usually required to get a job as a principal. For individuals who love language and grammar, another relevant option is a job as a professional editor. Editors work with writers to revise and polish content so that it is ready for publication. The minimum educational requirement for an editor is a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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