Thinking back: Teaching High School and University

by Susan
Master of Teaching


As university graduates, many of us have been out of high school for at least 4 years. One big question I constantly ask myself is “What level of students do I want to teach?”. High school teaching offers a more personal learning environment while university teaching brings research into the classroom. Below is my account of some of the differences between high school and university based on my experience as a student teacher in a high school and as a teaching assistant in university.

High school class of 30 students

Time: 75min

Attention span: intervals of 15 – 75 min

Number of Hands-raised (questions/participation): ~2-5 times per student (nearly all students participating)

Troubleshooting behavioural issues: lots

Coaching and repeated instruction/direction: LOTS

University lab/tutorial of 30 students (first and second year undergrad)

Time: 60 – 120 min

Attention span: ~2x that of high school students

Number of Hands-raised (questions/participation): ~2 – 5 times per student (less than 50% of students participating)

Troubleshooting behavioural issues: little to none

Coaching and repeated instruction/direction: a few…lots only when it’s needed

Leave a Reply