From taking care of each student’s individualized needs to making sure state-mandated curricula requirements are being met, the work of an elementary school teacher is filled with responsibilities.
Elementary school teachers are generally knowledgeable in a wide-variety of subjects, and are able to communicate this knowledge clearly through concepts that are developmentally fitting for the age group they are teaching. Despite all the work and responsibilities, elementary school teachers often have fulfilling and rewarding careers helping individuals grow and succeed in both personality and in academia.
If you aspire to become an elementary school teacher, continue reading and find out how you can help make your dream a reality!
1.) Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education
If you want a career as a teacher, you must first and foremost obtain a bachelor’s degree. To get a teaching certificate or licensure, most places in North America requires you to have a bachelor’s degree, it is not specified in what subject you must earn a bachelor’s in. However, most schools nowadays — whether public or private — prefers the bachelor’s degree to be in education.
Often, degrees in education will aid in the process of obtaining your teaching certificate or licensure. Having a degree in education allows students to learn about the principles of education and build a strong understanding of the curriculum of where you want to teach. Most degree programs in education will also require student teaching or internships (the clinical experience) which aids in the preparation of becoming a teacher in a more hands-on way.
2.) Complete your Clinical Experience
As mentioned, most degree programs in education will require you to complete at least one semester in a student-teaching position. This is typically done in the process of earning your bachelor’s degree in education. Student-teaching, or the clinical experience, is often done in two parts: observation hours and student-teaching.
First, you will observe an experienced teacher to see how they interact and instruct their students. Observation hours usually lasts about 40-100 hours. After observation hours, you will then have the opportunity to implement and teach lessons — usually in the classroom you have observed — under the supervision a cooperating teacher and a university supervisor.
In the case that your degree program does not offer a clinical experience, it is often strongly suggested for a student working on a bachelor’s in education to pursue a student-teaching position regardless. Student-teaching allows you to gain a more thorough, practical understanding in managing a class of elementary school children, as well as allowing one to be able to transfer knowledge learned in lectures to a real life working environment. Student-teaching also help in building professional connections.
3.) Pass you Licensing Exam/ Acquire a Teaching License
For you to legally work as a teacher in public school and even some private schools, you must be certified. Thus, it is essential for you to pass your license or certification program so that you can get certified and teach! Licensing usually differ from place to place, so it is extremely important for you to know where you want to teach before pursuing a license or certificate. Most degree programs in education will aid in this process.
4.) Decide What Kind of School You Want to Teach In
Most teachers tend to look for jobs at public schools, while some others prefer working in private schools. Both options have its advantages and disadvantages.
While public schools usually face funding troubles and shortages of equipment or materials, they have a more set procedure when it comes to promotion or salary increases. As well, teaching in a public school also means that you work for the government, which can grant you certain benefits such as health insurance or dental plans.
While those who choose to teach in private schools may not receive these benefits, private schools tend to offer teachers higher salaries. As well, families usually pay a large sum of money to enroll their children into private schools, leading some to argue it is easier to teach in a private school as you are teaching students whose families are incredibly invested in (quite literally) their children’s education. This also means that private schools don’t often face funding troubles or shortages. Some people, however, tend to find it controversial to not serve the public as a teacher.
5.) Apply for Jobs in Teaching
Once you have obtain your bachelor’s (at the least) and have acquired a teaching degree, you will be eligible for jobs in teaching. Professional networking you have done beforehand as well as a high academic performance could be beneficial when you begin to apply for jobs in teaching. This process may be tedious and difficult, but the feeling of landing your first teaching job and beginning your dream career will make it all worth it.
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