What Is an Elementary Math Coach?

Research what it takes to become an elementary math coach. Learn about the education requirements, job duties, average salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Teaching - Math degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Elementary Math Coach?

An elementary math coach is an instructional coordinator who specializes in the development of math curricula at elementary schools. They begin by evaluating an elementary school's math program, and they devise an improvement strategy based on their findings. To implement the plan, they hold workshops to train teachers and they recommend certain math textbooks and teaching materials. They monitor students' math scores over time and make changes to the program to correct any areas of weakness and promote further academic improvement.

Read the following table to learn more about the typical requirements for a career in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree may be required
Education Field of Study Math education, elementary education
Licensure State-approved teacher's license, requirements vary by state
Key Skills Patience, excellent communication, math and curriculum knowledge
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% (for all instructional coordinators)*
Average Salary (2015) $64,870 (for all instructional coordinators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do As an Elementary Math Coach?

As an elementary math coach, you would assist math teachers in finding new teaching methods, tools and techniques to improve math instruction. Conducting research and student assessments are the primary ways to discover learning strategies.

Research may include learning about tools used to teach math in different ways, attending conferences, conducting study groups and taking professional development courses. You may test students to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Test interpretation helps you find out what math areas need particular attention.

You may attend staff meetings, meet with administrators and discuss what you've discovered through research and assessments. You may make suggestions about evaluation modifications or help develop the curricula for math classes at the school. You may also make recommendations about continuing education courses or math conferences you think could help teachers.

How Do I Prepare for This Career?

Licensed teachers with teaching experience are qualified to become elementary math coaches. You may also need an endorsement or special certification in mathematics or elementary education. Each state sets its requirements and manages licensing. A minimum of a bachelor's degree with sufficient courses in education and the passing of state teaching exams are typically required to get a teaching license.

According to the state of Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, for example, a bachelor's degree and completion of a teacher preparation program is required to get your initial teaching license (www.k12.wa.us). In this state, to become a math coach you also need to have endorsements in elementary education or mathematics. These are added to your license through completion of a methods course, experience in the field, testing or National Board Certification.

What Might My Employer Prefer?

Employers seek job candidates who have experience leading others, particularly in the areas of instruction and curriculum development. Project management experience and computer skills are also good for this career. Knowledge of grade-level expectations is important. Expert knowledge of mathematics concepts, learning methods and techniques is also beneficial. Some school districts may require math coaches to have a master's degree, which may be in education or teaching mathematics.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a leadership position in an elementary school environment, you could also consider becoming an elementary school principal. Like math coaches, these professionals play a role in curriculum development, but they are also in charge of a wide range of other aspects of school operation, such as hiring staff, managing the budget and implementing safety protocols. To become a principal, you need to have a master's degree and several years of teaching experience. Alternatively, you might be interested in a job as an elementary school counselor. In this job, you would work directly with students to help them deal with social or behavioral issues, and you would work closely with teachers, principals, parents and community resource providers to support student educational success and general wellness. To be a school counselor, you need to have a master's degree and a license.

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