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Kindergarten Teacher career

Career Description

A Kindergarten teacher teaches elemental natural and social science, personal hygiene, music, art, and literature to children from 4 to 6 years old. They also promote physical, mental, and social development.

Common Work Tasks

  • Prepare report cards, and meet with parents and school staff to discuss a student’s academic progress or personal problems
  • Use props to help children understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical thought processes
  • Introduce children to mathematics, language, science, and social studies using games, music, artwork, films, books, computers, and other tools to teach basic skills
  • Use play and hands-on teaching methods
  • Teach letter recognition, phonics, numbers, and awareness of nature and science
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior, and policies and procedures to maintain order among students
  • Read books to entire classes or to small groups
  • Provide a variety of materials and resources for children to explore, manipulate, and use, both in learning activities and in imaginative play
  • Prepare children for later grades by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks
  • Organize and lead activities designed to promote physical, mental, and social development such as games, arts and crafts, music, and storytelling

Other Job Titles

Kindergarten Teachers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Early Childhood Education Teachers
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Teacher Assistants
  • Instructional Coordinators

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Traditional education programs for kindergarten teachers include courses designed specifically for those preparing to teach. These courses include mathematics, physical science, social science, music, art, and literature, as well as prescribed professional education courses, such as philosophy of education, psychology of learning, and teaching methods.

Certification and Licensure
  All 50 States and the District of Columbia require kindergarten teachers to be licensed. Usually licensure is granted by the State Board of Education or a licensure advisory committee. Teachers may be licensed to teach the early childhood grades (usually preschool through grade 3); or a special subject, such as reading or music (usually grades kindergarten through 12).  Requirements for regular licenses to teach kindergarten vary by State. However, all States require general education teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed an approved teacher training program with a prescribed number of subject and education credits, as well as supervised practice teaching. Some States also require technology training and the attainment of a minimum grade point average. A number of States require that teachers obtain a master’s degree in education within a specified period after they begin teaching.

Experience
In addition to being knowledgeable about the subjects they teach, teachers must have the ability to communicate, inspire trust and confidence, and motivate students, as well as understand the students’ educational and emotional needs. Teachers must be able to recognize and respond to individual and cultural differences in students and employ different teaching methods that will result in higher student achievement. They should be organized, dependable, patient, and creative. Teachers also must be able to work cooperatively and communicate effectively with other teachers, support staff, parents, and members of the community. Private schools associated with religious institutions also desire candidates who share the values that are important to the institution.

Salary

The median annual salary for a Kindergarten Teacher is $45,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $72,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $30,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of kindergarten teachers are:

  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $48,650
  • Child Day Care Services - $31,280
  • Individual and Family Services - $33,480
  • Civic and Social Organizations - $34,680
  • Religious Organizations - $34,130

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  16%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 28,000
  • Employment 2006 : 170,000
  • Employment 2016:  198,000
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