Don't settle. Do what you love.
© 2008-2011 Daily Endeavor, Inc.
This position is for hard-working and energetic people who love working with children. You'll hold the most important role in a child's education every day. The work and commitment required to be exceptional in this role is tremendous, but the intrinsic rewards you will receive will be incomparable to any other position in education. Edit
Most people are attracted to this position because they love working with children and building a culture of learning. Many are also attracted to what seems like a short work day. However, in order to be an effective classroom teacher, the work does not end at 3:00 PM. Because there is very little downtime during school hours, teachers find that they have to wait until the children leave for the day in order to plan lessons, grade assignments and prepare for special projects.
No one enters teaching for the money. Salaries of teachers with Master's Degrees fall behind those of other professions but in terms of financial security, not much comes close to teaching. Depending on the school and staff, the job can get overwhelming and feel isolating. Also, difficult parents and unreasonable union representatives can add to the daily stresses of the position.
A typical day begins at least 30 minutes prior to your students' arrival which varies by school (anywhere between 7:30 AM - 8:45 AM). The key to a successful day is having everything set out and ready for the students before them come into the classroom. Most days begin with a group meeting where you review activities from the previous day and plan for that day's schedule. You will typically need to have prepared lessons for reading, writing and mathematics every day. Social studies and science on the early elementary level is often only 2-4 days a week. You'll find yourself constantly moving from whole-group to small-group activities and one-on-one instruction. There is almost always a "fire" to put out so you need to be prepared for anything. (Humor and physical health are so important to the position!) After the students leave for the day, you may have parent or staff meetings to attend. Otherwise, you'll most likely be planning for the next day, decorating the classroom (bulletin boards and artwork displays figure prominently in early elementary classrooms) or correcting homework.
A teaching license is necessary in order to get a job in a public school. A license can be obtained at any college or university that has an Education Department. Keep in mind that licenses are state-specific so if you complete licensing requirements in one state but seek a job in another state, you'll need to look at reciprocity agreements or be prepared to take additional courses to satisfy the other state's requirements. Many urban school districts offer alternative licensing programs that allow people to earn their license while on the job. Job openings in public schools are found on the city's district website where online submission of application materials is now the norm. Many districts also hold job fairs in the early spring so be sure to keep an eye out for those.
In order to do well in this job, you really do need to love working with children. There will be many times when the work seems to overwhelm you but as long as your core motivation is to help children, you'll be able to get through those times. You'll need to be an expert in reading and math instruction, understand how children learn and be an incredible multi-tasker. Amazing peripheral version, the ability to effectively communicate with parents and a collaborative work style will also help you thrive in this job.
Our mission is to help 100MM people discover a work life worth living.
More than your resume, hiring managers want to see the thinking you'll contribute day one.
Learning about the types of jobs that exist shouldn't depend on who you know. You can change that.