What Does an Elementary School Teacher Do?
An elementary school teacher has the job of teaching children from about age 5 to age 11. The job usually requires a lot of time management skill and an understanding of the behavior of young children. Many elementary school teachers have to teach several different subjects, and they will generally be responsible for teaching children their most fundamental school lessons. There is also a general requirement to stay in touch with parents, keeping them informed of their children’s progress.
In most situations, elementary school teachers have to show children very basic things like reading, writing and math. In the later grades, there is also a focus on beginning to teach children basic elements of more advanced subjects like science and history. This is often considered the most important part of a person’s education because without these fundamentals, people may have a lot of difficulty succeeding in later years.
In order to do a good job, an elementary school teacher will often spend a great deal of time planning. Making the best use of the time available will often require a very organized approach to time management. Teachers will typically have to determine what parts of the lesson plan are most important and make sure they receive the most time. There is also often a lot of time spent on preparing work sheets and other basic daily jobs.
An elementary school teacher will normally learn very early on that each child has different needs. Teachers are expected to adapt to the needs of all the children in the class so that they each one can learn as much as possible. Making sure that each child gets the best attention possible will often require an entirely different approach to teaching the subject for different students. For these reasons, understanding many different teaching approaches and knowing when they should be used can be crucial skills.
That said, an elementary school teacher’s day does not always end in the classroom. Since teaching salaries are not high, many school teachers earn extra income through other activities, such as geometry tutoring. While this might sound surprising, since geometry usually comes in middle and high school, it’s common for teachers to teach these courses to students between the kindergarten and middle-school level, giving them the experience and competency to work with more advanced topics later in their schooling.
In some cases, an elementary school teacher is also expected to help mold the minds of the students. On the most basic level, this can simply be a matter of disciplining children and dealing with behavioral problems. In other situations, it can involve dealing with children who suffer from severe emotional problems. This often varies significantly from one school to another. In some places, teachers are expected to avoid having too much influence on children to keep from stepping on the toes of parents, while other schools encourage teachers to take a more active role.
I came to the US when I was eight years old. My elementary school teachers didn't only teach me reading, writing and math. They taught me English, pronunciation and helped me adjust to the culture and the school system.
@MikeMason-- You're absolutely right. These are the things that make teaching in elementary school challenging but also very fulfilling in the end.
I've been teaching in elementary school for the past three years. In the beginning, I thought that the most important part of teaching was planning and thinking of new and creative ways to teach the material to kids. This is definitely a very important part of teaching, but being flexible, patient and knowing how to problem solve are equally important.
Everyday at school is a different day. Sometimes it's challenging but when you enjoy being with kids and teaching, challenges become insignificant.
From what I can remember of school, elementary grade was the time when we were most active and the least disciplined. I think it's difficult to be an elementary school teacher for this reason. Kids are leaving their homes and attending school for the first time. They have to adapt to a new environment, make friends and learn the rules in school.
I think elementary school teachers have the toughest job out of all teachers.
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