How to Become a Teacher (K-12)
Without teachers to guide learning, education merely becomes a collection of happenstance experiences with no scaffolding on which to build. From early childhood to young adulthood and beyond, teachers foster students’ education and guide their learning in a cohesive, controlled way, so the sum total of the education has meaning and depth and is applicable throughout the student’s life.
What does a teacher do?
Teachers guide the education of students in private and public preschool, elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. They play an essential role in promoting the educational and social development of children and teens during their school years, guiding them to develop the necessary skills and tools to become successful adults.
Teachers plan, design and create lesson plans and evaluate the progress of each student through assignments, tests, and presentations. Teachers help students grasp and apply concepts of various subjects such as English, mathematics, social studies, art, writing, and the sciences, depending on education level. Preschool and elementary teachers most often teach all general education subjects in one classroom of students, each subject in turn during the school day. Middle and high school teachers will often specialize in one particular subject area such as biology or history, and teach one classroom of students every hour or so.
Teachers use a variety of techniques to guide students’ learning including direct instruction, hands-on activities, small-group work, and independent activities. They also use a variety of materials such as games, props, music, books, and television programs or movies, depending on the grade level of the class.
Teachers help students who are having difficulties and collaborate with parents and other teachers to resolve academic and personal issues. They also maintain order in the classroom and use accepted discipline techniques when necessary. Click here to find out how to become a teacher.
What kind of training does a teacher need?
All states require teacher licensing and a minimum of a bachelor degree in education for public school teacher jobs. Many private school teachers do not have to be licensed, but an education degree at the baccalaureate level is still required. Elementary school teachers must have a broad knowledge of all general education subjects. Secondary school teachers often major in the subject they wish to teach while completing their education program. Most education degree programs at all levels require a student-teaching internship for education degree graduate students.
Teaching licenses vary depending on the state and level of education such as early childhood (preschool to grade 3), elementary (grades 1 through 6 or 8), middle (grades 5 through 8), and secondary (grades 7 through 12). Teachers may also obtain a license in a particular subject such as science or art that usually covers kindergarten through grade 12. Click here to find an online teacher education program that’s right for you.
What are the prospects for a career as a teacher?
Opportunities in jobs for teachers are expected to grow about as fast as average, increasing 12%, from 4 million jobs in 2006 to more than 4.4 million projected for 2016. (1)
Job prospects are projected to be good to excellent, especially in high demand subjects such as science, math, and bilingual education. Opportunities for teacher jobs in rural and urban school districts are expected to be favorable. Many opportunities for teaching careers will fill the positions of teachers that are expected to retire over the next 10 years.
How much do teachers make?
Currently, the median public school teacher salary is between $43,680 and $58,034, with the highest 10% making more than $65,293 a year. (2) More than half of all preschool, middle and secondary school teachers belonged to unions in 2006, which help to standardize salaries, vacations and benefits.
A career as a teacher is an excellent choice for people who have a passion for teaching and enjoy watching students grow and learn new things. Teachers must be very patient, motivating, organized, and be great communicators. They must also gain students’ trust and appreciate individual differences. They must understand the emotional and academic needs of their students, and be able to effectively handle stress and manage time well. Click here for a list of programs to get your teacher degree online.
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