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K-12 School Teacher Career Resources

Certified K-12 teachers, especially those with a Masters in Education instruct students in the core subjects of math, reading, science, social studies, and language arts. Elementary school teachers teach all subjects in the youngest grade levels, and often team-teach or specialize in only one subject for the older elementary school students. Middle school teachers routinely specialize in just one subject area, which can include elective, advanced, or remedial classes. Elective subjects, commonly found in school districts include computer courses, industrial arts, home economics, and foreign language. Teaching elective courses similar to those mentioned above often require additional coursework, or a designated minor, in to educational methods courses taken for to acquire a Bachelors Degree. High school teachers instruct students in a singular area of study, and can offer elective courses related to their field of expertise. A high school history teacher could facilitate learning in semesters or yearlong courses on a myriad of specialized topics relevant to historical learning.

Teachers can also apply for supplemental contracts offered within a school district. Common short-term contracts are offered for duties such as coaching an athletic team, advising a school club, or supervising and organizing special events like graduation, prom, or a science fair.

Job Responsibilities and Duties for K-12 School Teachers

Teachers are required to accomplish far more than an enlightening lecture and the grading of homework. Daily duties also include monitoring discipline in the classroom, supervising students at recess, in the cafeteria, and on field trips. Teachers must also record grades, develop lesson plans, host conferences with parents, and satisfy continuing education requirements established by the employing school district and the state in which the teacher was licensed. Students must be instructed on the precise skills and knowledge necessary to pass state achievement tests. In some states, a teacher’s raise or continued employment can be affected by student’s performance on the governmental achievement tests. School districts receive a report card based upon the progress and scores of students on the mandated tests; school funding can be jeopardized by persistent below average test scores.

Educational Requirements for K-12 School Teachers

All teachers must possess a Bachelors Degree in Education and most must obtain a Masters Degree in Education for advancement.  Students must pass all general courses at the chosen college, as well as methods classes for the designated subject of study. Nearly all universities offer education courses, which take three to four years to complete. Education students must complete a quarter or semester long field study internship, and student teaching internships before graduation.

Bachelors of Science in Education courses vary dependent upon the grade levels the student will be instructing, but share many commonalities. All education students must pass courses in human development, cultural diversity, learning abilities and differences, communication methodology for selected subject focus, and social and economic influences on the educational process. Once completing all coursework, the student will submit to a background screening, and proceed to the state’s licensure examination.

K-12 Teacher Areas of Specialization

  • Early Childhood - Teachers who complete a degree with this designation are certified to offer instruction in grades Preschool through kindergarten. This type of educational degree allows a teacher to serve as a preschool or daycare head teacher or director.
  • Middle Childhood – This educational designation allows a teacher to serve students in fourth through ninth grade. Teachers at this level can designate a minor area of concentration and teach one specific subject, or earn enhanced certifications. Courses, which focus on remedial reading, advanced math, special education, and technology, are examples of classes routinely offered through education learning departments.
  • Secondary Education – Individuals, which earn this degree, can teach students in grades seven through twelve in a specified subject matter. Students must designate an area of concentration after gaining admission to the chosen school’s college of education.
  • Special Education – Students earning a Bachelors Degree in with this designation can teach children with special needs, behavioral conditions, and multiple disabilities at any age level.
  • Public school teacher, offering instructions nine months a year in a traditional classroom setting for all students living in a specified geographic area.
  • Private school teacher, offering instructions to students in a small classroom setting who pay tuition to attend the school. Students, which attend a private school, are often more advanced academically.
  • Parochial school teacher, offering educational instruction in a religious sponsored school. Classes are typically smaller, and offer less disciplinary issues than a public school setting. Students typically pay tuition, or attend classes through a financial assistance grant.
  • Charter schoolteacher, offering instruction in a school, which can have multiple age students in a classroom. Charter schools routinely focus on a specified concept of educational learning. Charter schools can be associated with artistic, musical, or advanced learning curriculums. Students pay tuition of attend classes with a financial assistance waiver.

Job Options for K-12 School teachers:

Career Opportunities for K-12 School Teachers

Elementary school multiple subject teacher
Kindergarten teacher
Math teacher
Reading teacher
Spelling and language arts teacher
Science teacher
Social studies or history teacher
Government of civic teacher
Technology or keyboarding teacher
Business studies teacher
Journalism teacher
Agricultural studies teacher
Art Education Teacher
Music Education Teacher
History Teacher
Social Studies Teacher

Salaries for K-12 School Teachers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual earnings of public school teachers ranged from $43,580 to $48,690 as of May 2006. The lowest 10% of earned between $28,590 and $33,070 annually. The top 10% of educational professionals earned between $67,490 and $76,100 each year. Elementary and secondary public school teacher’s average wage, according to BLS is $52,630. Parochial and private schoolteacher’s average income was recorded at $42,920 per year.

Teaching & Education Associations

NEA – National Education Association

NCSS – National Council for the Social Sciences

NSTA – National Science Teachers Association

SITE – Society for the Information Technology and Teacher Education

NCTE – National Council of Teachers of English

NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children

NCTM – National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

NEA – National Education Association

ACTFL – American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages

AFT – American Federation of Teachers

ACE – American Council on Education

NAEA – National Art Education Association

MTNA – Music Teachers National Association