Elementary School Teaching Jobs
Elementary schools are often happy places to be. Young students skip down the halls and adore their teachers. Laughter rings from the playground and colorful artwork adorns the halls.
Teachers can inspire their young students with hands-on projects that encourage imaginations to grow as the all-important building blocks for future learning are put in place.
A bachelor’s degree in elementary education typically allows a teacher to teach from preK-8. However, each state has an individual certification process. Some states feature the wide range of k-8 certification while others narrow it down to grades k-3 for example.
Pay for elementary teachers increases with experience. Starting salary is around US$34,200. The average salary for an elementary school teacher is $54,152 according to Salary.com as of 2015. Most elementary school teachers work a 40 hour week for ten months out of the year. However, many teachers put in countless hours of preparation work outside of the contracted school day.
Many elementary classrooms are self-contained, meaning one teacher instructs a group of students in all of their core subjects. Other elementary classrooms have departmentalized their classes. For example, a teacher may be responsible for second grade math only.
The elementary years are a time of rapid growth and development for students. Elementary teachers have the privilege of building a solid foundation for students’ reading, writing and mathematics skills. It is vital that elementary teachers closely monitor and assess students’ progress. The teacher needs to provide individualized instruction when needed and must make sure that all students are challenged, yet able to succeed. Small group instruction is commonly used in elementary classrooms.
Elementary school teachers are responsible for instructing students not only academically but socially as well. Patience, understanding, and determination are essential characteristic for an elementary teacher to possess. The teacher must create a safe, welcoming classroom environment. A strong classroom management plan is imperative.
Since elementary teachers often deal with fewer students in a day than secondary teachers, they have opportunity to build strong relationships with their students.
A student’s elementary school teacher may be the adult she spends the most time with during work week days. Elementary teachers are poised to be influential role models.
To keep students’ attention, a general rule of thumb is lecture, or teacher led talk time should not be more minutes than the average child’s age. Therefore, a typical first grade class should not have a teacher lecturing for more than seven minutes at a time. That means the teacher needs to plan many hands-on activities for the students. The elementary classroom should be rich in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning experiences. A sense of flexibility and creativity is needed to deal with the unexpected twists of an elementary classroom.
Elementary school teachers should also be comfortable users of technology. Increasingly, record keeping and parent communication are done through an online interface. Also, teachers are commonly expected to incorporate technology into their lessons.
Providing support and education to young children can be a very demanding career. Elementary teachers frequently have responsibilities outside of their classroom such as lunch and recess duty. Common responsibilities outside of instruction time are planning lessons, communicating with parents, grading papers, recording data, prepping materials, and decorating the classroom. Teachers must frequently collaborate with other teachers and meet with administrators and other school professionals. The teacher may also need to create the curriculum he will use.
Elementary teachers may have to deal with disrespectful students or parents, lack of adequate supplies, or the stress of teacher accountability. Considering there is always another student to help, paper to grade, or exciting lesson to create, the job of an elementary teacher is endless. However, the intrinsic rewards of helping children learn, succeed, and feel valued are priceless.
For more information on elementary education, visit the following resources: