It takes a big heart to shape little minds. If you love being with kids and want to take up the challenge of introducing the world to them, becoming a preschool teacher can be an ideal career choice. Preschool teachers teach kids between ages 3 to 5, who have yet to enter kindergarten.
The Most Important Job in the World
As a preschool teacher, you will teach reading, writing, and various subjects in a way that kids can understand. The work, however, comes with a great deal of responsibility as kids between three and five are at a very tender stage and need a lot of care and attention.
A typical day is divided into small segments, namely singing time, play time, nap time, lunch time and more. Preschool teachers guide and help little ones through each. They introduce concepts that will be explored further in kindergarten and elementary school, work with children in groups or on individual basis. Furthermore, they organize activities so that children can learn about the world, observe children and keep an eye on their emotional and developmental progress. Preschool teachers also keep record of the students’ progress and interests.
How to Become a Preschool Teacher
If you find the above mentioned tasks interesting, it is time for you to find out how you can start a career in this field.
Preschool Teacher Requirements
A high school diploma and a certification in early childhood education can typically be sufficient to launch a career but some employers prefer to hire preschool teachers with postsecondary education in early childhood education. This is especially true of those applicants looking for positions in public schools. These teachers may initially start out as assistant teachers.
Early childhood education programs will instruct students in child development and strategies to teach young children. Students will learn about educational psychology, child safety, preschool care and toddler learning environments.
Some of the topics in the early childhood education programs are:
Classroom management and behavior
Instructional resources and technology
Health, safety and nutrition in early childhood education
Children with special needs
Curriculum development in early childhood education
You will get a chance to explore the emotional and social progression of children in addition to learning about the developmental theories and the significance of milestones. Besides, the early childhood education degree programs will allow you to develop effective classroom management skills to promote an environment that is conducive to learning.
As a preschool teacher, you may also need to obtain a license. To qualify, you need to meet minimum training requirements, pass a background check and have a complete record of immunizations.
In addition to earning a degree and getting a license, preschool teachers also need to have certain skills that can help them excel in their work.
Communication Skills - Strong communication skills are important, so that the teachers may communicate well with young children as well as their parents and other staff members.
Creativity - If you are not creative, you may not succeed in this profession. This is because preschool teachers need to plan lessons that may engage young students.
Patience - Working with children can be tough at times. So you must have patience to deal with them.
Energy - Preschool teachers should have a lot of energy as working with children can be physically taxing.
Getting a degree or certificate does not guarantee a job in the field. However, those who have secured jobs have been hired in the following:
Elementary and secondary schools
Child day care services
Individual and family services
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that preschool teachers earned a median annual salary of $27,130 in 2012.
It is advisable to look for jobs in smaller cities near the East Coast as these regions tend to pay preschool teachers more, according to the US News & World Report. The publication further noted that Vineland, N.J., leads the list of top-paying metropolitan areas.
Work Schedule for Preschool Teachers
The schedule of preschool teachers primarily depends on their workplace. Those who work in public schools usually work during regular school hours. They work the traditional 10-month school year, which includes a 2-month summer break. Some of these teachers also choose to teach in summer programs. On the contrary, preschool teachers who work in day care typically work longer hours and often work the whole year.
Is it a Career with Potential Job Growth?
The increasing population of children between ages three and five is one of the major drivers for job growth in this field. According to the BLS, from 2012 to 2022, there will be a need for about 76,400 new preschool teachers.
What are the Benefits of Being a Preschool Teacher?
A career as a preschool teacher can be exciting and fun. Here are some of the benefits of being a preschool teacher:
Preschool teachers generally receive benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings in addition to their basic salary.
Weekends, holidays, and summer vacations are some of advantages that these teachers may benefit from.
Preschool teachers get the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children.
The last benefit of becoming a preschool teacher trumps all others.