Elementary School Teaching
If you like being around children and learning new things, then there is no career more rewarding than becoming an elementary school teacher. Each and every day you will get to see the results of your hard work in the faces of your students, and your love of learning will inspire them to go on to great careers themselves, maybe as teachers just like you.
In order to be able to teach elementary school, you will need a bachelor's degree in education along with specific teaching courses. You will usually have to complete at least one semester as a student teacher. Once you have completed all the required courses and tests, you can apply for jobs in your area as an elementary school teacher.
As a teacher in an elementary school you will be responsible for teaching core subjects such as math, reading and writing, science, and social studies. The students may also attend other classes such as physical education and band, which are taught by teachers who have studied in this field. You will have to spend time planning each day's lessons and evaluating each child's performance to report to their parents, as well as assigning and marking homework.
The Good and the Bad
Being an elementary school teacher can at times be both incredibly gratifying and frustrating. For one, you are working with limited resources, meaning you have to stretch your budget and time to meet each child's needs. This may mean that you don't get all the materials you need to teach, so you will have to become good at sourcing out good deals or making do when you just can't get the teaching resources you want. In overcrowded classroom situations you will spend most of your time helping the lowest performing students, and the least amount of time with those who seem to be managing fine.
Before you commit to becoming an elementary school teacher you may want to have a discussion with some teachers in your area about their jobs. After all, going to school to become a teacher is a big step, and you want to make sure that it is the right one. Talk to teachers about what their days are like, and ask them how much time they spend teaching versus grading or doing administrative tasks. This will give you a good idea of what teaching actually entails. Some may be surprised at how little time is actually spent teaching a class.
Communicate and Listen
As a teacher you will be expected to get along with your peers – meaning other teachers and administrative staff. You also need to understand that each school is managed by a school board, who sets the rules for what curriculum is taught. So while you may think that teachers are somewhat independent, the truth is that there are many layers of management overseeing what they do, and ensuring that the job is done according to their specifications.
If you decide that you do want a career teaching elementary school, the next step is to find out what your state's requirement for teacher certification is. A good place to start is finding teaching requirements by state. Then you can work towards getting your credentials in order and landing your first job in the rewarding field of elementary school teaching. Have fun!