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Hobbes's avatar

Does anybody have experience or stories about teaching in an elementary school?

Asked by Hobbes (7309 points ) December 27th, 2011

I’m approaching the end of my undergraduate education, and am trying to figure out where I want to focus my energy in the next stage of my life. There are so many possibilities, but a path I am seriously considering is early childhood education.

I will receive a degree in Theater and Environmental Studies, and though this is certainly not the only possible application, I think I could translate these passions into a classroom, both directly and indirectly. Theater and play are wonderful teaching tools, and it seems to me that a teacher is a performer in many ways. I am deeply concerned about the environmental and social problems our planet is facing, and though part of me wants to try to address them directly, I don’t think my destiny lies in developing and implementing technical solutions, but rather in working with language, culture and consciousness. Children are, as they always have been, our greatest hope for the future.

I am aware that teaching is a difficult job, and one of the reasons I’m gravitating towards elementary schools is that I’m not sure I could deal with the difficulties of working with older kids, both in terms of the systemic BS one has to deal with at that level and the intensity of the interpersonal drama, especially in high school. Though teaching elementary school is sure to have its own adversities, it also seems like a really amazing job, both in terms of the intangible rewards and the benefits such as summer vacations and good health care. Though the salary isn’t enormous, I really have no desire for much money, since I have no interest in a consumerist lifestyle.

I’d love to hear any stories anybody has about teaching kids, or anything anybody remembers about their teachers at that age.

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6 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

I haven’t taught in elementary school but I do know there is a serious lack of male teachers at any level of the Australian school system. This is something our government is trying to address. I think teaching is a difficult job but it is also a hugely important job too. There seem to be opportunities to travel and to teach in other countries too once you are qualified and have some experience.

snowberry's avatar

In the US at least, the trend is that if you want to teach, you’re going to have to have a teaching certificate. They do make exceptions to allow people in certain fields some leeway to get their degree while teaching, but the rules are getting tighter.

It’s sad, because having a teaching certificate has nothing to do with having the ability to teach well.

Hobbes's avatar

@snowberry

I would definitely intend to get a teaching certificate. The piece of paper doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good teacher, but training is really helpful.

Hobbes's avatar

I need to stop submitting questions late at night, because they always get buried by morning.

Bellatrix's avatar

What is the ratio of male to female teachers where you are @Hobbes?

Hobbes's avatar

It’s pretty low. About 75 percent of elementary school teachers are female, nationwide. It’s higher at higher levels, and more administrators are male than female, but still. Partially, it’s often perceived as a feminine job, and it doesn’t pay a whole lot.

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