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Do you get to choose which grade you teach?

When I grow up I want to be a teacher and I would like to teach little kids.

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Bryant’s Answer

Hi Tre, that is awesome that you want to teach kids someday!


When you study to become a teacher you first choose if you want to pursue a Multiple Subject teaching credential or a Single Subject Teaching credential. A Multiple Subject teaching credential means you want to teach Elementary School which are generally grades K-5. Elementary school teachers have to teach many subjects to their class like history, science, math, and english. When you choose a Single Subject credential, that means you want to focus on a certain subject, for example Science, and you will be able to teach Middle School and High School, grades 6-12. So from the start, teachers choose if they want to be with younger kids (k-5) or teenage kids (grades 6-12)


Now, you certainly may wait until a perfect job opening comes up with your preferred grade of choice, but often teachers find positions that are immediately available that they are qualified for. I knew I wanted to teach High School history, ideally US history for 11th graders. However, the school I was looking at only had a World history opening for 10th graders. I took it anyways and loved it!


Hope this helps you a little bit, keep up your passion to teach and help others!


Bryant

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Colette’s Answer

Tre,
That's a really good question. Each state is responsible for handling their own certification for teachers, so you would need to find out what the requirements are for your state. The previous answer was spot-on, though, most states have a range of grades included in a teaching certificate. For example, I'm in Illinois and I have two teaching certifications. One is for K-6th grade and the other covers 6th-12th. If you would be most interested in working with younger children, then you would get a degree and certification in elementary ed.


That being said, once you are in a school district, there is no guarantee you will stay in a specific grade. It depends on the district. Numbers of students can vary grade to grade which can impact where teachers are needed. One year there might be three classrooms of 2nd graders so they need 3 2nd grade teacher, but the following class doesn't have as many, so they go down to only 2 classrooms and one teacher moves up to 3rd to cover.


Student teaching happens at the end of your college program and really gives you a good glimpse into what the day-to-day of being with the students is like. What I can say is that I have had the good fortune of teaching kindergarten through high school and there are always positives and challenges at every grade. As long as you enjoy kids in general you'll love teaching.

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Rachel’s Answer

Many colleges provide incredible teaching programs. A few of the best in the nation are Johns Hopkins University, NYU, and UConn

Teaching involves a number of different skills and qualities. I would say the most important are:


  1. People skills - being friendly and working well with others. You will need to be personable, caring, kind, friendly, compassionate, and understanding. These qualities make a great teacher. But you also need to be stern and firm in your directions, rules, and discipline
  2. Public speaking - every day in your class you will need to be able to speak and present information to your students, practice speech, and practice fluency of language and talking in front of others
  3. The subject you plan to teach - become a master of the subject you plan to teach, make sure you know as much as possible and learn as much as you can about the subject you plan to teach. Take as many classes as possible in this subject and learn everything you can about it.
  4. Psychology & Human Development - start reading books and research articles on human development and psych. It will be helpful for you to know how people learn at different stages and the best ways to teach them at these stages (depending on stage of development and schema).


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