Secondary School Teacher Kaiako Kura Tuarua

Secondary school teachers plan, prepare and teach one or more subjects to students between the ages of 13 and 18.

video_library Watch Video

Secondary school teachers need to be registered with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and have a current practising certificate.

Secondary school teachers may do some or all of the following:

  • plan, prepare and present lessons
  • set and mark assignments and tests
  • assess students' work for national qualifications
  • keep records and write reports on students
  • observe and manage student behaviour in the classroom and other environments such as the gym and sports fields
  • attend departmental and staff meetings
  • meet with parents, whānau or caregivers, individually or at parents' evenings
  • participate in or organise extracurricular activities such as sport, camp or drama
  • keep up to date with curriculum changes and assessment methods.

Special Education Teacher

To become a special education teacher you need to have two years or more of secondary school teaching experience, full teacher registration, and a postgraduate qualification in the area of special education you wish to teach in.

Physical Requirements

Secondary school teachers need to be reasonably fit and healthy, and able to stand for long periods.

Physical education teachers and sports coaches need to have a good level of fitness and health.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for secondary school teachers includes:

  • counselling experience
  • tutoring or coaching work
  • work with people with disabilities
  • work as a youth group leader
  • work as a teacher aide.

Personal Qualities

Secondary school teachers need to be:

  • skilled at communicating clearly with students and adults from a range of backgrounds and cultures
  • organised, and good at solving problems quickly
  • understanding, tolerant and good at listening
  • enthusiastic, open-minded and able to motivate young people
  • able to work well under pressure
  • firm and fair, with a sense of humour
  • able to work well in a team.


Secondary school teachers need to have knowledge of:

  • different teaching methods and learning styles
  • the curriculum subjects they teach
  • curriculum assessment and planning
  • classroom management skills, including an understanding of behaviour management
  • research skills to keep up to date with best practice in teaching
  • school rules, policies and procedures, including safety and emergency procedures.


Secondary school teachers:

  • work regular school hours, but often work additional hours to plan lessons, assess work or attend meetings
  • may be involved in extracurricular activities during lunchtimes, weekends, school holidays or after school
  • work in offices and classrooms, and sometimes at locations such as school camps and museums when they accompany students on trips and visits
  • may travel nationally to attend conferences and courses.

Secondary School Teachers can earn around $47K-$77K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Secondary School Teacher are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for secondary school teachers varies depending on experience and qualifications. 

  • Untrained secondary school teachers with a Limited Authority to Teach usually earn between $47,000 and $77,000 a year.
  • Secondary school teachers with a relevant diploma or degree can earn between $51,000 and $90,000 a year.

Secondary school teachers may also qualify for higher pay and allowances if they have extra responsibilities.

Source: Ministry of Education, 'Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement 2019-2022'.

Voluntary bonding scheme in hard-to-staff schools

Secondary school teachers who work in schools identified as hard to staff may be eligible for an extra $10,500 after three consecutive years of teaching, then $3,500 after the fourth year, and a further $3,500 after the fifth year.

Extra pay in private or independent schools

Secondary school teachers who teach in private or independent schools may earn higher salaries.

Secondary school teachers may move into managerial roles, such as head of department, dean or principal, or progress into work such as:

  • teaching trainee teachers at universities
  • doing research, policy or advisory work in the education sector
  • working in training and education roles in a museum or art gallery.

Secondary school teachers may specialise in one or more subject areas, including:

  • arts
  • English
  • English as a second language
  • health and physical education
  • kaiwhakaako Māori
  • languages
  • mathematics
  • science
  • social sciences (accounting, economics, geography, history, or social studies)
  • technology.

With further training, secondary school teachers may progress to become special education teachers.

Years Of Training

4 years of training required.

To become a secondary school teacher you need to have one of the following:

  • a specialist subject degree followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) or a Master of Teaching (Secondary)
  • a Bachelor of Education (Technology)
  • a Bachelor of Teaching conjoint degree (a combination of teaching and specialist subjects).

Employers prefer you to train in at least two subject areas for your specialist subject degree so you can teach more than one subject. 

You also need to be registered with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and have a current practising certificate.

Scholarships available for Māori, Pasifika and STEM teachers

Secondary school teacher scholarships for course fees and sometimes allowances are available for teaching science, technology, maths, te reo Māori and Pasifika languages. Scholarships to encourage Māori and Pasifika to become teachers are also available.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can't be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Secondary School Teacher