Elementary School Teachers Overview
Though private school teachers do not need to be licensed, a bachelor’s degree is still a requirement to teach. Elementary school teachers teaching in public schools are required to be licensed in addition to holding a bachelor’s degree and completing an approved teacher education program. Elementary school teachers must be able to communicate, inspire trust, motivate students and understand their students’ needs. For in-demand fields such as mathematics, science, and bilingual education, there are many jobs available for elementary school teachers as well as opportunities in rural or urban school districts.
Nature of the Work for Elementary School Teachers
Elementary school teachers play an important role in the intellectual and social development of their students. The education they provide can affect the future of their students while providing students with the tools and an environment in which to succeed.
Elementary school teachers help students apply concepts such as science, math, and English through instruction and classroom presentations. They will plan lessons, prepare tests, listen to oral presentations, and maintain classroom regulation. They grade papers, prepare report cards and meet with parents and other members of the school staff. Elementary school teachers will asses students and evaluate their performances.
A hands-on approach is sometimes used by elementary school teachers where they can use props and other forms of visual learning. They may also ask students to work in groups to discuss problems together. Elementary school teachers make sure that students interact with one another and are able to logically work their way through problems.
Elementary school teachers play a crucial role in the development of children since what students learn in their early years can affect and shape how they view themselves and the world. Students are introduced to mathematics, science, social studies, and language thanks to elementary school teachers. The use of games, music, artwork, books, computes, and film are also used by elementary school teachers in the classroom. Those teaching kindergarten focus on letter recognition, phonics, and numbers in their classroom.
Most elementary school teachers will teach multiple subjects to the same classroom. Some teachers will work in teams varying on the school or some will teach one specific subject such as music or art. Elementary school teachers can also teach children at different levels in the classroom.
The role of an elementary school teacher usually includes overseeing study halls, supervising extracurricular activities, going with students on field trips and conducting in-classroom activities. They may also work with students who have physical and mental problems and guide them to the right authorities. Resources such as the internet, computers, and educational software are important for both students and teachers who use them for research or communication or for teachers who record grades or other clerical duties through such technology.
Elementary school teachers will usually work with students from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Some schools offer programs to teachers to help them understand different cultures.
Site-based management is now popular in many schools which allow students and teachers to manage school operations. Many schools are also allowing elementary school teachers to become active in decision making procedures such as textbook selections or budgeting.
Elementary school teachers can find their work rewarding as well as frustrating, especially dealing with disrespectful or unmotivated students. They may also feel stress due to heavy workloads, large classrooms or run down school environments. Elementary school teachers in public schools can also grow frustrated when they lack control over what they need to teach.
Elementary school teachers in private schools usually work in smaller classes and have the ability to set their own standards of performance and curriculum. Students in private schools also tend to be more motivated due to the selective admission process.
Some elementary school teachers work in teams while many teach alone.
The average workweek for an elementary school teacher is 40 hours within a 10-month school year and 2-month vacation period. During the vacation, teachers can teach summer sessions, travel or take other jobs. Elementary school teachers who work year-round usually work 8 weeks with a 1-week vacation and 5-week winter break.
Tenure is awarded to teachers after they have taught for 3 years yet it does not guarantee a job but rather a sense of security.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Elementary School Teachers
Most elementary school teachers complete a bachelor’s degree and obtain a license from a teacher education program. Those teaching at private schools need a bachelor’s degree but a license is not required.
Courses such as physical science and social science are taught at traditional education programs for elementary school teachers preparing to teach. Many programs will include student-teach internships as well as classes in computers and technology.
These teacher programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
Professional development schools offer elementary school teachers a way to gain teaching experience firsthand during a 1-year program after completion of their bachelor’s degree.
Granted by the State Board of Education or licensure advisory committee, licensure is required for elementary school teachers who teach in public schools, but not for those teaching in private schools.
Completion of a bachelor’s degree and approved teacher training program is required for all general education teachers. Depending on the state, some require elementary school teachers to have technology training or a master’s degree in elementary education.
To obtain a license, most elementary school teachers are tested for competency in basic skills and in teaching.
Alternative licensure programs are also offered to elementary school teachers who lack education courses but have completed a bachelor’s degree. The purpose of this program is to attract people to become teachers even if they don’t have the necessary requirements.
Communication, motivating and understanding students, responding to cultural difference, organization, patience, creativity, and working cooperatively are important qualifications for elementary school teaches.
Elementary school teachers who receive national certification may receive special benefits such as a higher salary from the school at which are they employed.
Elementary school teachers, with further preparation, can become school librarians, instructional coordinators, or guidance counselors. They may also become administrators or supervisors.
Employment and Job Outlook for Elementary School Teachers
Elementary school teachers hold around 1.5 million jobs.
Enrollment for students will increase the most in the South and West. Elementary school teachers who are geographically mobile and have a license will have more job opportunities readily available to them.
The subject taught, the grade level, and the locality all affect job opportunities for elementary school teachers.
Jobs in inner cities and rural areas rather than suburban districts will be easier to find for elementary school teachers. Minority teachers will most likely be recruited due to increased enrollments of minorities and limited amount of minority teachers.
Due to a greater public interest in education as well as better pay prospects, the supply of teachers is expected to grow.
Earnings and Salary for Elementary School Teachers
Median annual wages for salaried elementary school teachers are $50,510. The middle 50 percent earn between $40,850 and $63,600. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $32,830, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $78,720.