Practicing your passion as a career is not just about money. It is about finding your authentic self. Are you an individual who is patient, empathetic, and loves to nurture young minds? Then making a career as a kindergarten teacher is the right choice for you. After all, working with young, exploring, energetic, and curious minds is rewarding. Wondering how to become a kindergarten teacher and what they do?
Kindergarten teachers take care of children between five and six years old. They guide children’s intellectual and interpersonal growth via play and learning tools. Kindergarten teachers go through an extensive testing process before applying for the job. This article provides further information on how to become one, what they do, salary and much more.
Kindergarten Teacher Job Description
Kindergarten teachers work in public and private schools. They teach young children the basics of learning that serve as the building blocks in later years of school. A kindergarten teacher works with young, curious minds aged between four to six. They promote academic, physical, and social development in children. Instruction is given to young children one-on-one or and in groups as well.
Kindergarten teachers play a vital role in a child’s development. They possess effective communication skills that inspire trust and confidence in children. A kindergarten teacher educates the child in basic reading, writing, and social skills. The children are taught basic numbers, alphabets, natural science, etc. kindergarten classes.
Kindergarten teachers equip their students with basic academic skills. They teach social development norms for classrooms such as forming lines, raising hands, group activities, classroom behavior, etc. Teachers conduct tests to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the children. They give parents a continuous update on their child’s progress.
Steps to Become a Kindergarten Teacher
Aspiring candidates wondering ‘how to become a kindergarten teacher’ should know that kindergarten teachers need formal education, hands-on-experience, and a state license.
Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree
There are several different kinds of teaching degrees available at the undergraduate & graduate levels. However, most kindergarten teachers need a bachelor’s degree. Kindergarten teaching degree programs are available online and on-campus as well.
Aspiring students can obtain a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Candidates in elementary education programs can gain hands-on experience with teaching. They can take up courses like classroom management, child development, assessment, instructional planning, etc.
Step 2: Student Teaching Program
To obtain a license, students must complete a student teaching program. These programs are practiced in the final year of a bachelor’s degree. During the student teaching program, students are paired with a mentor teacher and get hands-on experience to teach students in real classrooms.
Step 3: Obtain a State License
All public school teachers require state licensure for teaching. However, private school teachers may not need it. Each state has its requirements. The basic requirement for every state is that the teachers should have a bachelor’s degree, complete student teaching, passing a background check, and pass the respective state’s teaching certification test.
Step 4: Earn a Master’s Degree
Some states require teachers to earn a master’s degree after they start teaching. Kindergarten teachers commonly pursue a master of arts in education or master of education in elementary education. These degree programs are available online and can be completed in 1 to 2 years.
Step 5: Advancement
After so many years of teaching, experienced kindergarten teachers can become mentor teachers. Some may also pursue additional education or certification courses for career enhancement. They can get promoted to a school counselor or instructional coordinator.
Kindergarten Teacher Requirements
Kindergarten teachers should have proven working experience. They should possess excellent knowledge of child development and should be updated with the latest education theories and practices.
They should have artistic and creative teaching abilities. Other skills to be possessed by a kindergarten teacher are patience, flexibility, strong communication skills, and teaching and organization skills.
[Also Read: How to Start Your Own Pre School]
Employers prefer aspirants to possess the following skills
- Instructional Skills: Kindergarten teachers have to explain new concepts and ideas to students. They must instruct in ways that help young minds understand.
- Creative lesson planning: Kindergarten teachers combine math, reading, writing, creativity, and play elements in their lesson.
- Curriculum Development: Kindergarten teachers must strictly follow the school curriculum guidelines while design lesson plans.
- Writing & Communication Skills: Kindergarten teachers should possess good writing and communication skills for effective communication with parents, fellow staff, and students.
- Classroom Management: Kindergarten teachers must impose behavior rules in the classroom to create a safe & fun learning environment for the students.
How Much Does a Kindergarten Teacher Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(1), the median annual wage for elementary school teachers, except special education was $58,230 in May 2018. The lowest ten percent earned around $37,780, while the highest ten percent earned more than $95,270.The median annual wage of kindergarten teachers was $55,470 in May 2018.
The highest ten percent earned more than $86,310, while the lowest ten percent earned less than $35,680. Kindergarten teacher salary differs from each unit of higher education completed. The higher the education qualification, the more the salary.
How long Does it Take to Become a Kindergarten Teacher?
It takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program (Elementary Education). However, there are programs that allow students to complete their degree in 18 months. After graduating and obtaining a state license, as a kindergarten teacher, you can start teaching. You can also pursue a master’s degree in elementary education, which takes 1 to 2 years to complete.
Job as a kindergarten teacher is rewarding as well as challenging. Most of their day is centered on teaching, caring for, and nurturing young children. They should work on being up to date on the latest developments and research in the field of education.