How Can I Learn Methods for Teaching Elementary School?

Enrolling in a teacher education program introduces you to the pedagogy techniques you need to work in the teaching field. To become a licensed elementary teacher, you must complete a bachelor's degree in elementary education, as well as student teaching. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Elementary School Teachers

Elementary school teachers work with children in grades 1-6, although some programs include training from kindergarten to grade eight. As an elementary teacher, you are commonly assigned to one class where you teach multiple subjects such as science, math, reading and social studies. Teachers within public schools are required to be licensed by the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). However, licensure for private schools may vary.

Important Facts About Elementary School Teachers

Online Availability Fully
Common Courses Learning theories, curriculum design
Degree Levels Bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate
Median Salary (2016) $41,706*

Source: *Payscale.com

Elementary Education Degree Programs

Entry-level elementary teaching positions typically require the completion of a bachelor's degree program in elementary education. Throughout the program, you complete coursework in language arts, social studies, integrated science and math. You're exposed to methods and techniques for teaching, curriculum development, student assessment and class management. Coupled with professional methods are courses in child development, educational technology, multicultural experiences and exceptional needs children.

Fieldwork

In addition to the completion of coursework, you are required to complete fieldwork in an elementary education setting. A number of teacher education programs offer students the opportunity to start their fieldwork experience early in the degree program, sometimes as soon as their first year. Fieldwork provides the chance for you to observe and participate in elementary classrooms or after-school programs. During the fieldwork, you might be called on to perform tasks such as grading papers, mentoring children or creating a lesson activity.

Internship

Prior to gaining teacher certification, you're expected to complete a student teacher internship. The internship is typically completed in your senior year. Student teacher internship programs work in conjunction with participating public schools in the area. During the internship, you have the opportunity to be involved in developing lesson plans around state-approved curricula, in addition to actually teaching the children.

Certification and Licensure

To work in a public school, you must be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state, but typically include the completion of a degree program, student teaching and competency tests. Competency tests examine your knowledge of basic skills and your teaching subject. The Praxis Series is a common competency test used in many states (www.ets.org).

Career Outlook

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a 6% increase in anticipated employment growth for kindergarten and elementary teachers for the 10-year period of 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). These opportunities can vary based on location, grade level and subject, as well as government legislation and funding. The BLS indicated that western and southern U.S. states might experience more school enrollment; therefore, a potential for hiring more teachers. Additionally, rural and urban areas might pose more open employment opportunities for teachers in all grade levels.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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