Becoming a Preschool Teacher - Preschool Teacher Career Facts
If you are interested in working with children and specifically want to specialize in young kids, then you should consider becoming a preschool teacher. Being a teacher requires that you accept the responsibility for educating and shaping the minds of the future, and this is especially true for preschool-aged children because you will be the first person, other than their parents, to guide them. Becoming a preschool teacher is both challenging and rewarding. The accredited schools offered below will all teach you the skills needed to teach others. Simply click on the links suggested to receive complimentary information about the schools of your choice.
Preschool Teacher Career Facts
Public school teachers must have a bachelor's degree, complete an approved teacher education program and be licensed. Many states offer alternative licensing programs to attract people into teaching.
Preschool Teacher Career Description
This job classification includes preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary teachers. Preschool, kindergarten and elementary school teachers play a vital role in children's development. What children experience and learn in their early years shapes their views of themselves and the world and affects their later success or failure in school, work and their personal lives. Middle and secondary school teachers help students delve more deeply into subjects introduced in elementary school and expose them to further information about the world.
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Preschool Teacher Career Details
Teachers act as coaches or facilitators, using discussions and hands-on learning to help students learn and apply concepts in various subjects. As teachers move away from traditional methods such as repetitive drill approaches and memorization, they are using more objects to help children understand abstract concepts, develop critical thought processes and solve problems. Preschool children learn mainly through play; thus preschool teachers should build their programs around it. Therefore, a less structured approach is used to teach preschoolers. Most elementary teachers instruct one class of children in several subjects, though in some schools, two or more teachers work as a team to instruct a group of students. Middle and secondary school teachers specialize in a specific subject, and can also teach subjects that are career-oriented.
Teachers may use a variety of tools in their work, including films, slides, overhead projectors and the latest technology. Computer resources expose students to a vast range of experiences while promoting interactive learning. Teachers often work with students from a variety of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, making it important for them to establish rapport with a diverse student population. Other duties of these teachers include designing classroom presentations to meet student needs and ability, working with students individually and evaluating their students' performance and potential. Teachers plan, evaluate and assign lessons; prepare, administer and grade tests, prepare report cards and meet with parents and staff to discuss students' academic progress or personal problems.
Preschool Teacher Career Specializations
Some teachers instruct one special subject - usually music, art, reading, science, arithmetic or physical education - to a number of classes. With additional preparation, teachers may move into positions as school librarians, reading specialists, curriculum specialists or guidance counselors. In some systems, highly qualified, experienced teachers can become senior or mentor teachers, with higher pay and additional responsibilities. Preschool teachers usually work their way up from assistant teacher to teacher to lead teacher and finally to director of the center (although a master's degree is often required to be a director).
Preschool Teacher Career Working Environment
While seeing students develop new skills and gain an appreciation of knowledge and learning can be very rewarding, it can also be frustrating when dealing with unmotivated or disrespectful students. Teachers occasionally must deal with unruly behavior and violence in the schools. They may get stressed when dealing with large classes and heavy workloads. School may be run down and lack the amenities of those in wealthier communities. Including school duties that are performed outside the classroom, many teachers work more than 40 hours a week. Part-time schedules are more common among preschool and kindergarten teachers. Most teachers work the traditional 10-month school year with a two-month vacation during the summer; during the break some may teach in summer sessions, take other jobs, travel or pursue other interests. Most states have tenure laws that prevent teachers from being fired without just cause and due process. Teachers may obtain tenure once they've satisfactorily completed a probationary period, which normally lasts three years. While tenure does not absolutely guarantee a job, it does provide some security.
Preschool Teacher Career Required Training
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require public school teaches to be licensed, although licensure is not required for private school teachers. Typically licensure is granted by the State board of education or an advisory committee. Requirements for regular licenses to teach kindergarten through 12th grade vary by state; however, all states require general education teachers to have a bachelor's degree and to have completed an approved teacher-training program with a prescribed number of subject and education credits, as well as supervised practice teaching. About a third of states require teachers to obtain a master's degree in education.
Preschool Teacher Career Coursework
Almost all states require applicants for teacher licensure to be tested for competency in basic skills such as reading, writing, teaching and subject matter proficiency. Most states require continuing education for renewal of the teacher's license. Many states offer alternative teacher licensure programs for people who have a bachelor's degree in the subject they'll teach, but lack the necessary education courses required for a regular license. States may issue emergency licenses to those who do not meet requirements for a regular license when schools cannot attract enough qualified teachers to fill positions. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education currently accredits more than 500 teacher education programs across the U.S. Generally, four-year colleges require students to wait until their sophomore year before applying for admission to teacher education programs. Many states now offer professional development schools, which are partnerships between universities and elementary or secondary schools. Students enter these one-year programs after completion of their bachelor's degree.
Preschool Teacher Career Future Job Outlook
The job outlook for teachers should be excellent over the next two years, largely due to the number of teachers expected to retire. Intense competition for good teachers is already underway among employers in many locations, with schools luring teachers from other states and districts with bonuses and higher pay. The job market for teachers varies by school location and subject specialty; those who are geographically mobile and who obtain licensure in more than one subject should have a distinct advantage in finding a job.
Preschool Teacher Salary
Median Salary--$25,700 in 2010