February 18th, 2013
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What Age Children Should I Teach?
Before wondering what age children you want to teach, you need to focus on getting your education. The prospects for teaching in the next 10 years are excellent, so you will most likely be able to teach at whatever level you want. You will need at least a Bachelors degree in an appropriate subject. Mathematics and Science teachers will be in fierce demand, as will bi-lingual teachers, especially Spanish-English. A Masters or PhD is even better.
How do I get Certified For Different Age Groups?
State Certifications are usually granted on 3 levels:
• Early Childhood through 6th Grade-Level
• Middle Grades 4th-8th.
• Secondary Grades 8th-12th
It can differ from state-to-state. Some states may certify for Preschool, Kindergarten, or all grades. There are also certifications for Special Education. Certifications are obtained by taking the required courses, and passing a State Certification Exam for the area you wish to teach in.
What Are The Differences?
Anyone who has been around children and adolescents has learned that each age group has different needs.
• Early Childhood and Lower Grades- these children are away from home for the first time, have little social skills, and no knowledge of basics. They will often be unsure of how to act in a classroom environment. They are very impressionable, and will take their cues from the teacher, so care must be exercised in how they are corrected and disciplined. They have to learn all of the basics like reading, counting, math, and even mundane things like tying their own shoelaces.
• Middle Grades-by now, the children have become comfortable with social settings,and know the rules of behavior (whether they follow them or not). They begin to be socially conscious, and pecking orders begin to be established. This can be a traumatic time for many children, and many develop problems that stay with them throughout their lives at this level.
• Secondary-by now, the adolescents have become social creatures. They are convinced they are ‘grown-up’, and many feel as if they know everything they need to know. Males become more aggressive towards each other, and authority in general. Females also begin to resent authority to a certain degree. They are all becoming sexually mature, so often, their minds are not on learning. By this time, many are well on the way to becoming the persons they will be in the world.
As you can see, there are different considerations in each group, and different levels and types of discipline required to facilitate the learning process, hence the different certifications.
How Do I Know What Level I Want To Teach On?
Most people won’t know at all. Of course, everyone will have a certain age group they feel comfortable working with, but there is more to it than that. You will have student teacher opportunities while training, and can get a feel for different grades. You can also set in on different grades. And especially, don’t be afraid to talk to other teachers and get their input.
And lastly, your certification is not written in stone. You can be re-certified for a different grade level simply by meeting the requirements, and taking another Exam.
It all depends on what you want to do…plant the seeds of Knowledge and Greatness, water them, or prepare them for harvest.
Whatever level you decide on, remember: Teachers raise the greatest crops of all….human minds.