Becoming a Teacher 101

Katie Owen, May 2014

Motivator, instructor, mentor...teachers can fill so many roles in a student's life! My mom was a teacher for many years, and her example inspired me to become a teacher as well.

What Do Teachers Do???

Although there are many types of school settings and subjects, teachers in the United States usually work at a public school. Teachers have to decide if they want to work with young children or older children, because the training for these age groups will be very different. Teachers must plan lessons for the subject they teach and carry out those lessons with their students. In addition, teachers grade student work, such as projects, papers, and tests. Finally, teachers may have lunch duty, bus duty, or sponsor a student club.

Skills Needed to Teach

* Ability to work with students (usually children)

* Ability to work with other adults (teachers, administrators, parents)

* Technology-savvy

* Knowledge of the subject (or subjects) they will be teaching

* Organizational skills

Training Needed to Teach

A school teacher must have a Bachelor's degree. Some school districts even require teachers to have a Master's degree. Teachers also have to complete student teaching. This means that the teacher works with an experienced teacher to help plan lessons and teach in the class for a few months. Finally, teachers must pass examinations to make certain they know the subject they will be teaching.

Working Conditions

Most teachers work at schools, either in classrooms, labs, or gyms. The actual building a teacher works in will probably vary, since some schools are older than others. Many schools now have at least some computers available for both teachers and students to use. Schools are usually composed of multiple classrooms, so teachers are surrounded by other teachers and students most of the time. Teachers usually work from August to May or June, unless they teach at a year-round school or teach summer school. School hours vary, but most schools start between 7-9am and end by 3-5pm. Teachers will often spend several hours moving around helping their students, so it is important that a teacher be able to work for a few hours at a time without a long break.

Earnings Potential

A Kindergarten or Elementary teacher's salary averages $53,090 per year.

A High School teacher's salary averages $55,050 per year.

In Texas, a first-year teacher minimum salary is $27,320 per year.

Teacher salaries usually increase by a few hundred dollars each year, though this may depend on the teacher's performance or how the school district is doing financially.

In general, more experienced teachers make more money.

Job Outlook for Teachers

The job rate for Kindergarten and Elementary teachers is expected to grow at an average rate for the next few years, about 12%. The job rate for High School teachers is expected to grow at a much slower rate for the next few years, about 6%. This means that, in many places, it will be easier for a Kindergarten/Elementary teacher to get a job than a High School teacher.

Pros and Cons of Teaching

* Work with children                                          * Sometimes there are lots of papers to grade!

* Summers off!                                                     * Not going to become a millionaire :)

* Regular hours                                                    * Very structured environment

* Teaching others subjects you enjoy

Sources Used

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