5 Qualities of a Highly Effective Secondary Educator

By Lauren Abraham

girl pointing to a computer and three other people watching

Do you feel called to teach at the junior high or high school level? You may be wondering what it takes to succeed as a secondary educator. If you are looking to earn your teaching license, Grand Canyon University’s Master of Education in Secondary Education will prepare you for a career as a highly effective secondary educator, in public or private schools.

Knowledgeable About Their Subject

In the secondary setting, many educators teach specific subjects, such as biology, math, English or even a foreign language. Therefore, they must be very knowledgeable in their area of expertise. In addition, it is important for them to keep up with the changing trends in the areas they teach. For example, by keeping up with what is happening in today’s political world, government teachers can relate to their students.

Able to Incorporate Practical Application

As a secondary teacher, your students may ask you, “When will I ever use this in real life?” As junior high and high school students prepare to enter the world, they want to know how their education will be applied. In order to motivate your students and keep them engaged, look for ways to relate your lessons to real-life situations or even careers where their knowledge will benefit them.

Effective Discipline Strategies

Teaching at the secondary level can bring challenges. Many junior high and high school students are struggling to find themselves as they grow and change, and this can be a bumpy road. Therefore, it is important for secondary educators to use effective discipline when dealing with difficult students. This will allow them to keep control of their classroom and enhance the learning experience for each individual student.

Interest in Building Relationships with Students

Having an interest in building relationships with students is a quality of many highly effective secondary educators. Older students need role models who invest in their lives and show that they care for them. The junior high and high school years are a critical time in students’ lives, and as a teacher, you can come alongside your students and encourage them. As an authority figure, you can make a positive, lasting impact on their lives.


Last but not least, positivity is one of the most important traits of highly effective educators. Every now and then, you will have days that do not go according to your plans. You may have to adjust your curriculum, change an assignment or spend longer on a topic than you planned to. However, it is how you react to these situations that matters. By choosing to be optimistic, you can inspire other teachers, your students and their parents to do the same. Overall, this will lead to a positive classroom environment.

The College of Education at Grand Canyon University is committed to nurturing your development into an outstanding educator. To learn more about the education degrees at GCU, visit our website or request more information by using the button at the top of the page.

Written by Lauren Abraham, a senior earning a communications degree at GCU.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.