Research Project: Careers and Colleges
It is difficult for first time job hunters to have realistic ideas about how to profit from their skills. This is why it is important to investigate what career you may be interested in and what colleges will enable you to excell in that career. The profession that I am interested into going into is an elementary school teacher. Fordham University and New York University are two colleges that offer excellent elementary education programs.
Throughout this report I will be discussing information related to the career as well as information dealing with the colleges.
School teachers at the elementary level introduce children to the basic concepts of mathematics, language, science, and social studies. They aid children in the development of good study and work habits and help them aquire the skills necessary for further education. They evaluate each child and work with parents to provide whatever help a child may need to develop his or her full potential.
Elementary school teachers are also concerned with the social development and health of their students. They work to resolve behavior or personality problems and are alert to health problems or illness. In these early years, teachers try to give students as much individual attention as possible.
Elementary school teachers usually instruct one class of children in several subjects. They are occupied directly with children for most of the school day, although they also prepare lessons, meet with parents, attend faculty meetings, and supervise activities after school.
Seeing students develop new skills and gain an appreciation of knowledge and learningn can be very rewarding. However, teaching may be frustrating when the teacher has to deal with unmotivated and disrespectful students. Teachers may also expeirience stress when dealing with large classes and heavy workloads. Teachers face isolation from their colleagues since they often work alone in a classroom of students. However, this autonomy provides teachers with freedom to choose there own teaching methods.
Including school duties performed outside the classroom, many teachers work more than 40 hours a week. Most teachers work the traditional 10-month school year with a 2-month vacation during the summer. Teachers who teach 10 months may teach in the summer, take other jobs, travel, or persue other personal interests. Many inroll in college course or workshops to continue their education. Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule usually work 8 weeks, and are on vacation for 1 week, and have a 5-week midwinter.
Elementary teahcers work in every geographic area. They work in cities and towns of all sizes and in rural areas throughout the United States. Elementay school teachers generally work in elementary schools. The grades in elementary schools vary but many schools consist of kindergaten through fifth grade. Although it changes from state to state, the elementary level usually includes kindergaten through sixth grade.
All states and the District of Columbia require that elementary school teachers in the public schools be certified by the state board of education, the state superintendent of eduaction, or a certification advisory commitee. The general prerequisites are a bachelors degree, completion of an approved teacher education program, and a period of supervised teacher education program. Many states require a certain grade point average in education courses before granting certification. Certification may also be specific to the level being taught or it may be specific to a specialization.
Many teacher education programs include courses in the psychology of learning, child development, and teaching methods. Thirty-five ststes test basic skills, teaching skills, or specific subject matters for those seeking certification, and almost all require continuing certification for recertification. Teachers can also earn regional or national accreditation, the lattter granted by the National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education (NCATE). Teachers in private schools are not generally required to take a teachers education program, and private schools often do not require the bachelors degree.
In 1986 there were more than 1.5 million elementary school teachers for about 30 million students in classes from kindergarten through the eigth grade. More than 80 percent work in the oublic school system and teach in schools with classes from kindergarten through the sixth grade. Through the year 2000 the demand for elementary school teachers should increase in response to increased enrollments. However, the number of teachers is also expected to increase, so there should be strong competition for jobs. Oppurtunities are likely to be better in the West and the South, where population has risen dramatically in the past decade. Hiring for the public schools depends entirly on budget appropriations, which depend in turn on taxpayers priorities. Despite the importance of teaching, education competes with other essential services for revenue dollars.
According to the National Education Association, the estimated average salary of all public elementary and secondary school teachers in the 1995-1996 school year was $37,900. Private school teachers generally earn less than public school teachers. In 1996, over half of all public school teachers belonged to unions-mainly the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association-that bargain with school systems over wages, hours, and the terms and conditions of employment. In some schools, teachers receive extra pay for coaching sports and working with students in extracurricular activities. Some teachers earn extra income during the summer working in the school system or in other jobs.
Personal Characteristics/Related Occupations/Promotions
Elementary school teachers require a wide variety of skills and aptitude, including a talent for working with children; organizational, administrative, and recordkeeping abilities; research and communication skills; the power of influence, motivate and train others; patience; and creativity. Workers in other occupations that require some of these skills are college and university faculty, counselors, education administrators, employment interviewers, librarians, preschool teachers, public realations specialists, sales representatives, social workers, and trainers and employee development specialists.
With additional preparation, teachers may move into positions as school librarians, reading specialists, curriculum specialists, or guidance coundelors. Teachers may also become administrators or supervisors, although the number of these positions is limited and competition for these desirable positions can be intense. In some systems, highly qualified, expeirienced teachers can become senior or mentor teachers, with higher pay and additional responsibilities. They guide and assist less expieienceed teachers while keeping most of their teaching responsibilities. Also a teacher may receive a promotion in pay with the completion of additional teaching courses. With each year a teacher teaches in a certain district, the pay increases.
There are many things that one can do to prepare for a career of elementary education. Someone who would like to become an elementary teacher should try finding a part time or volunteer job involving children. Such jobs include preschool teachers, camp counselors, or even baby-sitting. By working with children you will show yourself whether or not you have the dependability, good judgement, creativity, and patience that one must have in order to become a elementary teacher.
Despite what many people think, the teaching profession does not end when school is over. There are many lifestyle implications for teachers. Many things must be done at home. Such things include the planning of lessons, the grading of tests, homework corrections, faculty meetings, supervising extracurricular activities as well as the physical strain of being in charge of 25 children for six to seven hours a day for five days a week. Many people have thoughts of going into the teaching profession for the reason that they think they have summers off and that work ends when school does but this is not true.
I think everyone has there own reasons for choosing teaching as there profession, but most teachers have similar reasons. Most teachers go into teaching because they want to educate and see children learn. One gets a feeling of satisfaction when they get through to children and see that the students are learning. I think most teachers go into the career because they care very much for children. When the school year is over, a teacher can look back at the year and realize that it is because of them that the children learned and are ready to go on with there education to a higher level of learning. One should be sure about teaching before entering the field because it is a very big profession to take on.
In 1996, over half of all public school teachers belonged to unions. The two main associations are the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. These associations deal with a large range of issues and challenges affecting the teaching profession. They bargain with school systems over wages, hours, and the terms and conditions of employment. Both of these association have there own periodicals that deal with education-realted issues afeecting the profession.
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