Teaching seems like one of the most essential jobs in the world. In charge of providing education to youth and shaping the minds of kids, teachers do a lot. We know about many types of teachers: high school teachers, college professors… you name it. But in this article, we will talk about elementary school teachers. Elementary school teachers hold many responsibilities, and becoming an elementary school teacher is no walk in the park. So, what does an elementary school teacher do exactly? Why are they so important? Not only do they teach children ranging from ages 4 to 11. But they also teach subtraction and how to write, along with other important skills such as sharing, cooperation, kindness, honesty and many other needed life skills. What else is involved in the position?
Read on to find out how to become an elementary school teacher:
What does it take to become an elementary school teacher?
There are many different routes to becoming an elementary school teacher, and every state has different rules. But most commonly, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from college, which you can usually get in several different majors. For example, if you want to be a math teacher, you can major in mathematics and have education as a minor. But most will major in education and choose which level of education they want to major in. To become an elementary school teacher, you will choose primary education.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree, you will want to start a teaching program that will prepare you for some of the teaching exams and tests you will have to pass in order to become a teacher. Each state has its own exams. Lastly, there are safety tests each state offers to make sure you know how to handle kids and so on. You should also prepare yourself for a required background check.
What Does an Elementary School Teacher Do?
- Look after the needs of children
- Create lesson plans daily for students
- Communicate with parents
- Engage students in creative and fun ways
- Always have a good, positive attitude
- Give feedback to students whenever needed
- Open to new ideas in the classroom
What you should know about becoming an elementary school teacher?
What’s something everyone thinks about after college? Money. So, what does an elementary school teacher make yearly? Well, a teachers salary differs in each state due to the cost of living and other factors. In New York, the yearly average salary for an elementary school teacher ranges from $60,000-$90,000 per year. This can change based on what type of school you work at and where it is located.
If you want to be an elementary school teacher, you should prepare to work very hard. But maybe not in the way you might think. Working with young children means a lot of emotions. You should expect a lot of screaming, crying and high energy. So, it can require a lot of effort mentally, but most teachers still usually find the work rewarding. Most teachers love what they do, and it is an incredibly impactful job that has the ability to change the trajectory of kid’s lives.
“You have to be able to be patient with them and know how to calm them down,” Little Acres School teacher Nevaeh Stephenson said. “It’s also important to be able to put aside whatever you have going on in your life at the time.”
But don’t worry, the job also has benefits. One of the cool perks of being an elementary school teacher rather than, let’s say, an accountant, is the creativity you have with your space. You will have your very own classroom and have all creative control when it comes to decorating. Because your classroom will be filled with little kids, you can make your classroom more fun with colorful decorations and cute toys. When it comes to making friends as a teacher, you always have your coworkers. At lunchtime, you can go over to a different teacher’s classroom and eat lunch together. Usually, the teaching staff at elementary schools are very nice, especially considering they have an understanding of what your job is.
The great thing about becoming a teacher is that there will always be a need for them. Unlike some professionals currently getting overtaken by AI or declining for other reasons, teachers will always need to exist to educate people. If anything, right now, the teaching market is great to go into because a lot of teachers left during COVID-19, so schools still find themselves recovering, and many teaching staff shortages still exist. Because of the teacher shortages, the requirements to become a teacher have gone down. Most schools require at least a bachelor’s degree, but some schools now accept people with associate degrees.
3 key skills you need to become an elementary school teacher
Working with kids so young, you have to learn patience. They aren’t tweens, teens or adults, Just little kids who don’t know many things. Don’t forget that. At first, patience might seem difficult, and you might feel like blowing your fuse once in a while. But remember to take a deep breath and think before you speak.
2. Time Management
Time management is an important skill when deciding to become a teacher. Not only do you have to remember certain things your kids might say or want, but you also have to plan a new lesson daily.
As an elementary school teacher, communication is key. You must know when a kid is upset or if they need something, even if they don’t make it clear. But it’s always good to talk to them and check in on them because not all kids are extremely vocal. This can be seen a lot in younger kids, who don’t know how to vocalize emotions as well. Communication is important not just with the kids but with your co-teachers as well.
“Communication with other teachers and superiors is good. They can bring a lot of new knowledge and solutions that can be useful,” Elementary School Teacher at Brooklyn College’s afterschool program Julia Ocasio said.
Especially for new teachers, communication with your superiors might come in handy. They can give you words of wisdom and help you out. Let’s face it: we’re not superheroes. We can’t be perfect all the time. When doing a profession like teaching where you’re around children so often, having good communication skills will make you a better teacher.
“It’s awesome being a teacher. You get to bring new knowledge to kids and interact with them, and you can learn from your kids too. They also bring a lot of knowledge into the classroom,” Ocasio said.
“It can be hard being an elementary school teacher, but I think it’s amazing work. You’re helping the next generations of the workforce become the best parts of themselves. It can be tough, but it’s rewarding,” Stephenson said.
“I love my job, and while it makes me stressed sometimes, being a teacher is the best job. Especially with such young kids, because I’m making a real difference,” Elementary School Teacher at Bridgeprep Academy Charter, Rachel Campos said.