How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher
When you become a kindergarten teacher you have the ability to make a difference to your students in a very important time in their development. A kindergarten teacher is a teacher who specializes in the first year of schooling for children aged between 4 and 5. Important skills such as literacy and numeracy are taught at this level. It's also an important time for social development, as children learn how to relate to their teachers and peers.
During kindergarten, a teacher will help students make the transition from preschool to elementary school. While a lot of learning is completed in the traditional way, there is also a component of playing in the classroom which helps children to learn.
If you're interested in a career in education, and enjoy spending time with children, then you might like to become a kindergarten teacher. To succeed you'll need a friendly personality that young children can relate too. You'll also need excellent communication skills and lots of patience.
Education Requirements to Become a Kindergarten Teacher
If you are in high school but would like to become a kindergarten teacher, you might like to get some work experience. Working in a before and after school care center can be helpful, as well as babysitting jobs, or other activities that involve kids.
To become a kindergarten teacher you will need a four year bachelor degree either in elementary school education or an early childhood education degree. In all states you are required to be licensed to become a kindergarten teacher. Licensure required a four year accredited degree, plus literacy and numeracy exams. To find out the exact licensing requirements in your state, take a look at the CDA Council website.
Kindergarten Teacher Job Description
A kindergarten teacher takes classes for children in their first year of school where students are usually between 4 and 5 years of age. Teachers develop lesson plans that focus on literacy and basic math skills, as well as making the adjustments required in their first year of elementary school.
Social and emotional development is also important for students. Learning how to listen, share, and relate to peers and teachers is stressed in this year of education. Quite a bit of teaching is done through play, with children taking part in games and story time to help them learn.
Kindergarten teachers will regularly communicate with their student's parents, either directly or through regular progress reports. They must also keep in close contact with other teaching and administrative staff.
Here are some of the tasks a kindergarten teacher may be responsible for:
- Planning lessons
- Teaching students
- Supervising recess and play time
- Writing reports
- Communicating with parents
- Communicating with other staff
- Professional development
Kindergarten teachers work a forty hour week, but may sometimes need to work overtime to mark work or create new curriculums. Most only work ten months of the year, with a break over the summer.
Kindergarten Teacher Salary and Career Path
After you have completed your education along with any requirements for licensure in your state, you'll be ready to begin work as a kindergarten teacher. Many teachers stay in their position indefinitely. Others move on to work as leading teachers, or principals. Some leave teaching to work in educational administration.
Some similar roles to that of kindergarten teacher that might interest you include:
- Elementary Teacher
- Junior High Teacher
- Middle School Teacher
- Preschool Teacher
- Special Education Teacher
- Speech Therapist
In your first year of teaching you could expect to earn about $35,000 in a public school. the median 50% of teachers earn between $47,000 and $51,000 a year. Private schools teachers earn less, but may have access to other benefits. After some experience you could expect a salary within this range. Some teachers earn additional income by coaching sports teams or supervising other activities.
If you are looking for a rewarding career working with children, then you might like to become a kindergarten teacher. It's a great field to be in, as education shows high growth and employment opportunity. There is also a lot of opportunity for advancement within schools, and also many areas to take on further study or other forms of professional development.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics