How to Become an Elementary School Teacher
Elementary School Teacher Requirements
Skills of an Elementary School Teacher
- Communication expertise: possessing the ability to speak in front of large groups of children with ease and to make learning creative and fun.
- Understanding of elementary level academic subjects: having knowledge of reading, writing, vocabulary and mathematics.
- Ability to help students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills:teaching students how to communicate constructively with others and come up with solutions when faced with challenges.
- Classroom management skills: understanding how to deal with behavioral issues, implement school procedures and maintain consistent structure.
- Knowledge of how to work with students of different backgrounds and learning abilities: creating an environment of mutual respect and accountability.
- Model for lifelong learning: sharing an enthusiasm for learning and providing the message that education offers long-lasting benefits.
Elementary School Teacher Job Description
- Managing the classroom and implementing school procedures.
- Planning lessons, creating homework assignments and administering tests.
- Grading and evaluating individual student work and classroom performance.
- Collaborating with parents, guardians, school leaders and administrators.
- Accompanying and supervising students during activities outside of the classroom.
- Remaining current on state sand local curriculum requirements.
- Selecting and ordering appropriate materials.
- Preparing students for standardized testing, conducting tests according to state and local guidelines and providing feedback.
- Creating an engaging learning environment that meets the needs of each student in the class.
Elementary School Teacher Salary
5 Steps to Becoming an Elementary School Teacher
- Pursue the proper education. A bachelor’s degree in elementary education is required for public school teachers, and as indicated above, some states require teachers to have a major in their topic area. During their schooling, teachers-in-training will learn skills to help them work with youngsters with different abilities and from a wide range of backgrounds. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can complete a teacher’s education program that will allow you to become certified to teach public school. Alternately or additionally, you can enroll in a graduate education program that provides the required certification(s) in your state. The online Master of Arts in Teaching program with a concentration in Multiple Subject Teaching from University of Southern California (USC) Rossier School of Education specializes in elementary school education and includes foundational coursework across a range of subject areas. It prepares students to earn their California teaching credentials. Individuals interested in teaching in other states may be eligible to obtain their teaching credentials in those states through this program (see below).
- Know state-specific requirements. The educational system is largely governed at the state level, so it’s important to know what the specific credential requirements are for your state or any states where you plan to teach. Students in the USC program may be eligible to obtain their teaching credentials in other states and should research the requirements in the state where they reside or intend to teach. And although a majority of educational programs require the completion of a supervised field experience — usually a form of student teaching — some may not. Many states require field experience for licensure, so it’s wise to participate in student teaching even if the program you’re enrolled in doesn’t require it.
- Obtain your certification. No matter where you live, if you want to teach in public schools, you will have to obtain your teaching certification, also referred to as a teaching license. Since each state has its own requirements, be sure you know what they are and complete them before graduation.
- Consider earning a master’s degree. Although a master’s degree is not required to become an elementary school teacher, earning a graduate degree can benefit your career in many ways. In addition to equipping you with advanced education and training, it can open doors to new opportunities and higher pay and may help you fulfill licensure requirements.
- Be a lifelong learner. Participating in formal professional development is usually required in order to maintain your teaching certification. With ongoing education, you will continue to grow as an educator and learn new and improved teaching techniques. And as a lifelong learner, you’ll be an inspiration to your students.