How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher

If you enjoy working with four to six-year-old kids, you may be interested in how to become a kindergarten teacher.

Education

Most kindergarten teachers will need a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, preferably with a focus on early childhood development. Some of the courses you will find beneficial as a kindergarten teacher are things like the psychology of learning, the philosophy of education, and information about various teaching methods. Also, since you will be teaching a broad range of subjects, you will need to have a good understanding of art, music, math, science, literature, and social studies.

In addition, if you teach in a public school, you will have do some teacher training in order to get your certification or teaching license from your particular state. Each state’s requirements differ, but most will require some sort of exam to prove your proficiency in your area of expertise. If you aren’t planning on teaching in public school, you still might want to get your accreditation from the Child Development Association (CDA), since that will give you a leg up on the competition.

As a kindergarten teacher, it’s always a good idea to continue your education. Many school districts will require that teachers take ongoing educational development classes. You might also be required to eventually earn your Master’s degree. If so, consider a specific area of education that interests you like curriculum development, educational technology, learning disorders, or multicultural education.

Job Hunt

Once you have the education you need, you’ll want to start looking for a place to work. You’ll have many options available to you including public schools, private schools, parochial schools, and day cares. You can contact schools and school districts to see if they are hiring. The best time to look for work is in the spring since that is when many teacher’s contracts are up, and they decide whether they want to renew them. Make sure you follow the proper application procedures. Many school districts now have teachers fill out their applications online. Just make sure to follow up to ensure your application has been received. You can also attend educational job fairs offered by various school districts. When you attend a job fair, you’ll want to have an impressive resume, reference list, letters of recommendation, and hopefully a portfolio of your educational achievements and teaching experience.

Duties & Qualities

Kindergarten teachers may work either half days or full days, depending on the school requirements. They also spend a great deal of their time making lesson plans, instructing and disciplining students, overseeing activities, evaluating the progress of students, meeting with parents, and consulting with staff and supervisors.

Not only will you need to love kids, you’ll also need to be patient and organized. You’ll want to be warm and comforting while also commanding respect without being too harsh. You’ll also have to be able to communicate well with kids and handle some chaos in the classroom. In addition, you’ll need good leadership and problem solving skills.

Tips

Since for many children, kindergarten is the first formal instruction they will undergo, the job of the kindergarten teacher is an important one. You’ll be introducing these youngsters to a wide range of concepts from phonics and letter recognition to math, science, and social studies. So you want to make sure school is a good experience for them by encouraging their natural enthusiasm for learning. When you make learning fun through a variety games, multi-media activities, music, and books your kindergarteners will enjoy, you are setting the stage for a lifelong love of learning.