The role of an elementary teacher is to provide early guidance in the educational development of young children. The typical age range of elementary school students is 5 to 11. This is a vital point in a child’s development, as their experiences during this period can account for much of their behavior later in life. Therefore, an elementary teacher provides more than just lessons — he or she is an important role model for the children. Most elementary teachers pursue the career out of a love for working with kids, which is the greatest reward for contending with such a challenging position.
Those who wish to become an elementary teacher can start preparing long before college. Working with children through volunteer organizations or babysitting can teach a future teacher many things about caring for someone of elementary school age. Once college approaches, aspiring elementary teachers should seek an undergraduate education degree with a focus in elementary education. This degree will take approximately four years can be followed directly by certification or graduate school.
There are advantages to obtaining a post-graduate degree in elementary education. Some schools prefer their faculty to have advanced degrees — this is particularly true in private schools. Another advantage to earning a graduate degree is the possibility of a higher pay scale or the eventual promotion to an administrative position, such as that of an elementary school principal.
Regardless of whether or not a graduate stops with a bachelor’s degree, an official license must be obtained before a professional can work as an elementary teacher. Licensure is offered by the state and must be obtained in the state a teacher wishes to work. After successful completion of a state licensing exam, an elementary teacher should find many job opportunities within the community, as there is currently a high demand for throughout the United States for qualified teachers.
There are many duties involved with the role of elementary teacher. First, the teacher must develop and manage an approved curriculum. Most elementary teachers must instruct students in a variety of subjects. Another aspect of elementary school instruction is the childcare itself. Some children still require quite a bit of "babysitting" at this delicate age, which requires diplomacy and patience from the teacher. It is expected of a teacher to also keep parents informed of achievements and behavioral problems that their children may experience.