Elementary education is a degree, which prepares individuals to teach children in the elementary grades. Elementary school teachers have the benefit of summers and holidays off. After three to five years employed within a school
district, teachers earn tenure and can't be laid off without having done something extremely wrong. Elementary educators have an important job that directly influences the lives of others.
The largest qualification for becoming an elementary educator is to take for years to earn a bachelor degree in elementary education from a accredited college or university. The major includes student teaching for a semester, tutoring requirements for each class, a class on using educational technology, several classes on teaching various subjects, another class on child psychology and general education courses required by the college. The general education courses may include public speaking, physical education courses, maths, basic English courses, and numerous electives. The entire experience prepares an individual to teach. Teachers must take a certain number of classes once employed as an elementary educator to keep up on the latest trends and education techniques. Most elementary educators eventually even their master's degree in elementary education as well.
Elementary school teachers use a variety of methods to instruct students in math, reading, English, science and social studies. Elementary school teachers monitor student behavior and respond accordingly. Elementary school teachers instruct students using inquiry, group discussion and lectures. Teachers are responsible for creating lesson plans and tests. Teachers must be able to transform the lesson plan into a functional learning experience. They also create bulletin boards and be required to spend significant time out of class creating lesson plans, developing crafts, making materials and grading tests. Teachers should also be able to take on other functions as needed. Schools are often on a limited budget so material may become scarce as the school year draws to a close.
Besides having an elementary education degree, elementary educators should be comfortable around children. They should also be certified in the state they wish to teach. States have different tests from each other also though the material is similar. A pass grade on the state educator test earns the individual the ability to teach in that state at any elementary school. Many schools prefer that an individual have some form of experience in being around children and/or teaching experience. Successful hiring is based on an series of interviews.
One of the main benefits of being an elementary school teacher is the holidays and summers off. This often lures teachers into considering teaching as a character. Most teachers find influencing the next generation as the most rewarding aspect of teaching elementary school students.
The overall median salary for kindergarten teachers was $49,520 in May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average starting salary was $38,000 per year. Elementary teacher salary may start even lower depending on where the position is located and number of students. Teachers also have the benefit of good benefits, including medical insurance, paid sick and holiday pay, pension and 401K plans and assistance in returning for more education. Each school district and private school will likely have a set benefits package for all their teachers.
Becoming an elementary school teacher can be a great job for those who love children and want to be part of the next generation. Pursing a job as an elementary school teacher takes some planning and commitment. It takes four years to earn the degree and another six or so months to find a job. For many, it's the best job in the world.