If you love spending time with kids, it is awfully challenging to choose which age group to teach. You might have a soft spot for those innocent little toddlers yet you also probably get a kick out of interacting with elementary school students who are just starting to develop an intellectual curiosity.
Think carefully when weighing the merits and challenges of these career routes. Here are some of the top considerations to ponder when choosing the level of education to teach.
If you cherish the preschool teaching environment, an early childhood education degree will help you land the job you have been looking for. Alternatively, those who prefer to work with children who are a bit more mature and less needy will find elementary education to be a better fit.
However, those giving serious consideration to teaching elementary school should consider the fact that plenty of grade school teachers are forced to teach different grades even if they prefer to stick with the same grade.
Potential for Advancement
Teaching little bundles of joy at a preschool is a lovely and rewarding experience. However, those who teach preschool students find there is little room for career progression. It is possible to ascend the ranks to the director/head of the preschool. However, many preschool teachers continue teaching until retirement.
Alternatively, those who obtain a master's in education will have the opportunity to segue to a position in an elementary school, such as an administrator, with a higher salary. Furthermore, such a degree covers more subjects and grades so it qualifies one to transition to other positions as a learning support professional or reading comprehension teacher.
Skills Required for Each Level
Preschool teachers who are patient, caring and genuinely interested in child development tend to thrive in their role as early childhood educators. An analysis of job postings for teachers at this level shows some of the most important characteristics and skills for these professionals are the ability to lesson plan, an interest in child psychology, the ability to apply first aid and an interest in music.
The ability to think in a creative manner is essential to develop a lesson plan and execute it in a manner that makes a meaningful impact on the youngsters in class. Finally, preschool teachers have to be high energy. Little kids respond well to teachers who are energetic and physically expressive. Otherwise, keeping their attention will prove quite challenging.
Elementary education teachers should focus on building and refining the skills and traits necessary to teach at this level. Elementary schools are looking for teachers who are skilled in lesson planning, curriculum development, staff development, workshops, community relations and general decision making.
Though some of these skills overlap with those of preschool teachers, those who teach elementary school must collaborate more with other educators. Furthermore, the logic and strategy of the curriculum is also of concern.
Rather than engage students with physical expressions like a preschool teacher, elementary school teachers are better served by presenting material that appeals to numerous learning styles.
Though teaching elementary school certainly requires energy, this energy is directed toward engaging students to a deep level with concepts rather than simply maintaining students' attention as occurs in preschools.
Weigh all Factors to Make a Truly Informed Decision
Do not underestimate the importance of the decision outlined above. The nuanced career path you select will have a major impact on your happiness as a professional.
Consider all of the variables, take your time to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of each form of education and you will feel confident in your decision.
If you're ready to take the next step in your education, contact Athena Career Academy today to find out more about our Early Childhood Program.