13 Pros and Cons of Being an Elementary School Teacher

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If you love kids, working as an elementary school teacher could be perfect for you.

You can help kids as a teacher and prepare them for the next stage of their education.

If you’re considering going to school to become an elementary school teacher, you should understand the pros and cons of the job.

The last thing you want is to spend four years or be a loner in school only to realize that the job isn’t right for you.

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Pros of Being An Elementary School Teacher

There are plenty of upsides to being an elementary school teacher, which is why there are so many teachers working today, and so many college students working to earn their degrees to become elementary school teachers.

Below are the great things about teaching elementary school children.

#1 Kids Enjoy Coming To School

Most elementary school students enjoy going to school.

They like seeing their teacher and their friends and enjoy the activities the teacher has planned.

Kids at this age haven’t become caught up in the drama of friends, enemies, and dating like high school kids and will often be happy and engaged in the classroom.

#2 Grading Doesn’t Take Too Long

Grading papers for high school students can be a grueling process.

Students are often required to write long essays and term papers that can be time-consuming for their teachers to read.

Grading papers for elementary school students is less about letter grades and more about proficiency.

You won’t have to spend hours at home grading papers as an elementary school teacher, and it can also be done during recess or while the students are busy with music class, library, art, or gym.

#3 You’ll Teach Foundational Skills

Elementary school-aged children are like clay that’s ready to be molded.

They won’t have most of the necessary foundational skills when they come into your classroom, This will give you a chance to teach your students the skills required to move on from elementary school, and you can be sure they are learning what they need to.

#4 You Can Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Students

If you ask someone who their elementary school teacher was, most people can easily answer this question.

This is because your elementary school teachers had a hand in molding who you are today, and it’s easy to remember their names.

If you ask the same person to name all their middle school and high school teachers, they’ll likely only be able to name a few.

High school students have multiple classes throughout the day with different teachers, and they often don’t impact the student’s lives as much.

#5 Holidays Are Great

Kids love the holiday season, and it’s often their most exciting time of the year.

This can be great if you’re an elementary school teacher because you can have fun with your students while they do holiday activities.

Also, when your kids are off during the holiday break, you won’t have to work, so you can spend the holiday break doing things with your family and friends.

#6 Summer Vacation

The school year ends in June, and summer vacation starts.

Summer vacation often lasts until late August or early September, when the new school year starts.

If you would rather spend your summer lying on the beach or by the pool, you’ll love working as an elementary teacher.

When students are on summer vacation, nobody will be there to learn, so teachers also get the summers off.

Some schools pay teachers for the summer, some break up the teacher’s salaries so they continue receiving checks during summer vacation, and some don’t pay teachers during the summer.

If you want to enjoy leisurely summers off, it’s best to learn the school’s policy regarding pay during summer vacation before signing a contract.

Cons of Being An Elementary School Teacher

Although there are great things about being an elementary school teacher, there are also downsides that could make you realize that this may not be the career for you.

Understanding the cons of being an elementary school teacher can save you the time and energy it takes to become a teacher if there are parts of the job that you don’t like.

#1 You Have To Teach Every Subject

Elementary school students stay in one class with one teacher all day, so you must teach your students English, math, science, and social studies.

Teaching your students different subjects is relatively easy.

Still, you will have less knowledge in each subject than high school teachers, who teach one subject to different classes throughout the day.

You must prepare a lesson plan for each subject you teach, and you must grade papers for each subject.

Although it takes little time to grade a younger student’s paper, grading papers in four subjects can be time-consuming.

#2 Crying and Tantrums

Elementary school students are still very young and immature and can’t control their emotions like other children do.

If a student gets in trouble or they don’t get what they want, they might start to cry.

Also, students who don’t get their way often throw tantrums, which can be very stressful for the teacher.

You should find a different career path if you can’t deal with crying and tantrums.

#3 The Job Requires a Lot of Patience

Being a teacher takes a lot of patience, and being an elementary school teacher requires a significant amount of patience.

Students with behavioral issues can test their patience.

Also, students who can’t grasp the material can try a teacher’s patience.

When you have 20 kids who aren’t listening and don’t understand, it can make you crazy if you aren’t a patient person.

#4 You Will Have Many Responsibilities On Top of Being a Teacher

You have to do more than teach if you become an elementary school teacher, and if you don’t want to put in the extra time, you might not be a good fit.

The additional duties as a teacher include: 

  • Taking turns with other teachers doing afternoon duty to ensure that students get into and out of the school safely.
  • Faculty meetings
  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Attending training and professional development courses
  • After-school help if the school offers it

If you aren’t willing to put the time in before and after school to handle your responsibilities, you may want to find a more suitable career path.

#5 Paying For School Supplies

Due to cuts, many schools don’t have enough money in the budget for school supplies.

This means that the teachers are responsible for providing the school supplies the school doesn’t have.

Teachers can write off the money spent on school supplies; however, they’re only allowed to write off $300, which often isn’t enough to cover everything the students need.

You’ll be expected to cover everything out of pocket, and if you want to avoid doing this, you should think twice about being an elementary school teacher.

#6 School Boards

For decades, teachers were allowed to teach everything from the curriculum and the things they thought their students had to know.

Today, things are different, and it’s affecting many teachers’ desire to continue teaching.

School boards and politicians around the country can tell teachers what they can and can’t teach.

If the teachers don’t comply, they can be punished or even fired.

If you’re worried about the future of teaching, consider finding another career path.

#7 Money

If you’re looking for a career that will make you rich, being an elementary school teacher may not be a good fit for you.

The average salary for elementary teachers in the US is between $54,000 and $66,930.

The amount you would make depends on your state and the school you teach at, but you shouldn’t expect to get rich quickly in this position.

13 Pros and Cons of Being an Elementary School Teacher – Summary Table

Pros of Being An Elementary School TeacherCons of Being An Elementary School Teacher
#1 Kids Enjoy Coming To School#1 You Have To Teach Every Subject
#2 Grading Doesn't Take Too Long#2 Crying and Tantrums
#3 You'll Teach Foundational Skills#3 The Job Requires a Lot of Patience
#4 You Can Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Students#4 You Will Have Many Responsibilities On Top of Being a Teacher
#5 Holidays Are Great#5 Paying For School Supplies
#6 Summer Vacation#6 School Boards
#7 Money

Should I Become An Elementary School Teacher?

If you love kids and want to make a difference in their lives, an elementary school teacher could be a good fit for you.

You must also be willing to take time before and after school to handle other responsibilities and grade papers.

If you don’t have much patience, don’t like being told what you can and can’t teach, or don’t think it should be your responsibility to spend your money on school supplies, you may want to find something more suitable for you.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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