Kindergarten Teacher Job Description
Kindergarten teachers prepare children for their future academic lives by promoting their mental, physical, and social development. Because they teach such young children (normally 5-6 years of age), they are in a unique position to teach important concepts that will help the children develop critical thinking skills and the ability to grasp abstract concepts.
Kindergarten teachers normally teach all subjects to their students, and spend most of their days in a single classroom. Keeping children attentive all day in a single classroom can be difficult, so kindergarten teachers have to organize their lessons in a way that keeps the children active and alert.
To keep the attention of their students and foster a productive learning environment, kindergarten teachers create lesson plans that are designed to be natural extensions of their students’ curiosity. For example, they might start each lesson with a question, and then use an activity to help the students arrive at the correct answer.
Most of the subjects that kindergarten teachers teach are focused on introducing subjects that their students will continue to build upon in later grades. For instance, their lesson plans are often built around teaching basic math, reading, and writing skills.
Because the children they work with are so young, kindergarten teachers normally keep developmental reports that they distribute to parents to keep them informed on how their children are progressing. The reports are often presented to parents during parent teacher conferences, which take place outside of regular school hours.
Work Environment and Schedule
Kindergarten teachers work in both public and private schools.
While this can be a very rewarding occupation, it can also be very stressful. In many school districts, class sizes are larger than they should be, which can make it very difficult for kindergarten teachers to effectively lead their classes.
Working with young children who may have short attention spans requires a great deal of patience. Taking the time to understand each student’s needs and interests can help keep the class focused, but that becomes difficult in crowded classrooms.
For the most part, kindergarten teachers are able to work regular schedules. Because they don’t have many assignments to grade, they are able to enjoy working hours that are more regular than those kept by teachers who teach older students.
Kindergarten teachers have to put a lot of time and effort into creating their lessons, though, which can result in long hours from time to time.
One of the biggest perks of being a kindergarten teacher is that they get two months off in the summer, as well as other breaks during the school year. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to get that amount of time off in any other occupation. But because they play such an important role in their students’ lives, the time off for kindergarten teachers is very well earned.
How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher
In all states, kindergarten teachers need to have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Additionally, some states require that kindergarten teachers have a second major in a content area like English, math, or history.
Teachers in private schools do not need to be licensed, but teachers in public schools do. The licensing requirements vary from state to state, but all require a bachelor’s degree and the completion of a teacher preparation program.
Some states have GPA requirements for licensing, and may require the successful completion of a teacher certification test. Even though kindergarten teachers normally teach all subjects to their classes, they are often required to take tests in a single content area to demonstrate proficiency of at least one subject.
Taking annual professional development classes is required for teachers to keep their licenses. These classes are normally provided by the school district.
To learn more about the specific requirements in your state, you should check the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
There are currently 179,200 kindergarten teachers in the United States, with 7,930 new kindergarten teacher job openings created each year.
Kindergarten Teacher jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Kindergarten Teacher Salaries
Kindergarten Teacher salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most kindergarten teachers make between $39,900 – $62,800 per year, or Not Available per hour.