High school teacher (Physics & Chemistry)

Hi! I teach physics and chemistry to 9th, 10th and 11th graders at a Spanish public high school.

Teaching is one of the few well-known physics jobs, so I think there is no need to explain my day to day work, mainly because we all remember it from our days as high-school students. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that apart from teaching, it is usual to carry out some administrative responsibility at the high school, like head of the department, or even be part of some of the high school government agencies.

It is important to keep in mind that this job requires a constant contact with teenagers that are between 12 and 20, with all its advantages and disadvantages. Most of families with a modicum of means prefer the private education for their children, and it is necessary to say that nowadays it is certainly hard the daily contact with the students. Without falling into alarmisms, the lack of consideration and respect is the order of the day and you must swallow hard in order to be able to continue.

Of course, if one has a vocation for teaching, there are also some positive and stimulating aspects, caused by the direct contact with the student when this one knows how to recognize your interest and effort. These situations are minority but occur, and from time to time they lift your spirits.

As regards our free time, it is true that high school teachers have significant vacations, especially in summer, although they are shorter if you are a member of the high school administration. It is also true that the vacations are getting reduced more and more and they are much shorter than they were, for example, twenty years ago.

I think it is useful to remark that nowadays several college graduates in physics choose to teach other subjects, mainly technology and maths, since the chances of finding job in these ones are much bigger than in physics and chemistry. The difference is due to the number of hours these subjects are taught and the students preferences when these subjects become optionals.

Finally, I would like to explain that in the Spanish system you can belong, as a civil servant, to two teaching bodies: profesores and catedráticos. Nowadays the only difference between both positions is the salary, but it is not a huge difference since we are talking about modest salaries. Specifically, on the 1-to-30 scale of the Spanish civil servants, a profesor earns a 24 level and a catedrático earns a 26 one.

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Other details just in case you are interested in this post:

  • How to apply?
    Competitive examinations are usually announced every two years. To be eligible it is necessary not only a bachelor degree, but also a master degree for high school teachers;
  • Where can I find more information?
    At the information services of the ministries of education of the autonomous regions;
  • Important qualities for job applicants?
    Recently, the bilingual teaching is on the increase, so a high English level is quite advisable, especially if you wish to have access to certain destinations. Furthermore, in these cases one needs a “Language certificate” that the public Administration issues, after passing some tests that are called periodically;
  • What is the tipical (gross) salary for the first five years?
    The salary is fixed by the Spanish official gazette and it is in the segment 15-30 K€ per year. More precisely, as I said before, on the 1-to-30 scale of the Spanish civil servants, a profesor earns a 24 level and a catedrático earns a 26 one.