Elementary School Teacher
Elementary school generally spans multiple grade levels between kindergarten and eighth grade depending on the regional requirements. In some places, elementary school lasts from kindergarten through fifth grade, and in others it may go through sixth, seventh or eighth grade. As such, elementary school teachers may see and interact with students from age groups that are significantly different in terms of behavioral and cognitive development. Because elementary schools educate students of different ages and different phases of development, elementary schools will need to staff teachers to meet different types of student needs.
That said, most elementary school teachers tend to teach a single class of students in one grade level who are around the same age. Depending on the state, an elementary school teacher may be required to obtain a certification for teaching a specific grade.
Elementary school teachers will generally teach their classes several different subjects, with the curriculum focusing on the core subject requirements for: reading, mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, music, and art. Overall, elementary school teachers are expected to closely monitor their students’ development over the course of a year, building and shoring up a holistic educational base for each student. Elementary school teachers generally are required to be very hands-on and energetic, ensuring a safe and fun classroom environment that fosters a passion for learning and facilitates student development.
More Elementary School Teachers!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of elementary school teachers is expected to grow by 7% between 2016 and 2026 across both public and private schools. In the United States, there are over 47 million elementary school students in a little over 50,000 public schools across urban, suburban, and rural communities.
There are many factors affecting the salary of elementary school teachers – from level of education to experience and certifications obtained to geography. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists the average base salary of all public elementary school teachers in the United States as being around $46,000.
How to Become an Elementary School Teacher
Though elementary school teacher requirements may differ across states, teachers must meet basic educational degree requirements, including having at least a Bachelor’s degree. Though not required, a Master’s degree may increase a teacher’s changes of receiving promotions and salary increases.
All public school teachers must be licensed to teach in the states in which they teach. Licensure may be attained through a teacher education program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which merged with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) in 2014.
Teacher education programs focus on pedagogy, teaching methods, educational technologies and actual classroom experience as a student teacher. Prospective elementary school teachers may enroll in a teacher education program after having completed a Bachelor’s degree.