As a teacher in any grade level from Kindergarten to 12th grade, a teacher is responsible for educating the students in their classroom by teaching the national and state standards with the curriculum that they are given. They are the first and last line of defense against a poorly educated and illiterate workforce. This entails that the feel of the classroom is one that fosters imagination, safety, and creativity while learning as much as they can about the world around them. The teacher needs to have excellent organizational skills and communication skills. They will also need to be a positive influence on the students and believe in every child in their classroom.
Teaching jobs generally require the completion of a bachelors degree at minimum and often a masters degree. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
The teacher needs to be patient with all students and parents. Organization is an essential quality because grade books, assignments, grading scales, lesson plans, and conferences are all necessary to ensure student success and achievement. Elementary school teachers are responsible for teaching the “basics” of education, which include reading and decoding the English Language, simple mathematics which will be built upon in middle and high school, and writing effectively for each student’s grade level. Science and Social Studies should be taught at grade level appropriate stages so that all students understand all concepts.
Open communication with parents, principal, and other teachers is necessary to have a successful working relationship and to ensure the success of the student. Keeping to the duty schedule and reporting on time for any extra duties before or after school is also necessary.
Training and Education Requirements
Requirements for teaching change with every state. Knowing what the state expects for a Bachelor’s Degree is always a wise idea, even if the university has a degree designed for education. This is simply because there are so many aspects of education that one can choose from, ranging from preschool education to special education within a high school environment. One definitely must have a Bachelor’s Degree in their educational area, which is tailored to the specific piece of the educational system that they would like to teach. From there, one needs to be certified by their state. After that, they may receive a provisional certificate or a standard certificate, depending upon their educational status. They will need to complete a semester of student teaching to be able to apply to the various districts in their area. This student teaching is generally included within the requirements for their Bachelor’s Degree.
If the applicant has some other type of experience, like teaching Sunday school for their church or being a substitute in a district, this is very helpful when applying because the districts look for applicants who already have some sort of experience.
K-12 Teacher Salary and Wages
Teachers of all educational backgrounds know that they have a high percentage of job security. Their median wages range from approximately $48,000 to $53,000 depending upon years of experience, years of teaching in the district, and how much education one has. As with most careers, the more education one has, the more money they make.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Many educators are constantly seeking higher educational pursuits because they can provide more funding in the teacher’s paycheck. For example, in most districts, a teacher who has earned a Master’s Degree while working in the district will have an annual raise of $5,000 to $10,000. The range of the raise is dependent upon the district’s funding and their salary schedule. In many states, teachers are also given stipends and bonuses at the end of the year if they accomplish a set goal for student growth. This is typically in addition to their base salary but may not be distributed until the results of any student testing are released.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
In many states, beginning teachers are issues a provisional teaching certificate. This limits their teaching capacity to two years so that the district can determine if they are a good fit with the district or if they need to search for another position. After the provisional certificate is given, the teacher switches their certificate to a standard certificate. This is good for six years. After this, the teacher’s certificate will remain standard, but can add endorsements to the certificate as they begin to specialize in various areas of their field.
Principals and Vice Principals have different certificates which are necessary for their renewal of their license and usually contain many leadership courses within the certificate’s requirements.
There are many associations which a teacher can belong to. The first and largest is the National Teacher’s Association which is the labor union for teachers. Many states also have their own version of this union, which teachers can also claim a membership to by joining either the national union or the state union. Either way, if a teacher joins one, they are in both.
For the teachers who specialize in a specific area, such as math or science, there are associations specifically designed for them to communicate with each other about new ideas and ways to educate students. For new teachers, typically ones who have just joined the teaching profession, there are mentoring associations which are usually designed and hosted by the district.
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