What Do Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Do?
Kindergarten teachers teach kindergarten students things like social-emotional skills, pre-reading and literacy skills, foundations of math and science, personal hygiene, art and music. They observe and support children’s mental and physical development.The field of kindergarten teaching is expanding, with 6,510 job openings projected each year. That’s a 13 percent increase in a 10-year period.
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Skills and Abilities
Kindergarten teachers must relate well with children. To teach at this level, you’ll need a background in child development and a kind, approachable demeanor. You’ll have to be able to constantly monitor and assess both your own teaching style and the progress of your students, and to adapt your methods accordingly. You need to know how and what to teach, and when to take a break and move on to another subject. Being able to keep your lesson plans fluid and to come up with a wide variety of ideas on a single topic are very important skills to have for this career.
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Duties
Teaching kindergarten can be a different experience every day, depending on the needs and ideas of the children. Basically, though, your daily duties will consist of some combination of:
- Teaching basic concepts such as letter and number recognition, shapes and colors
- Teaching letter sounds and the meanings of symbols and print
- Teaching quantity and the concept of units of measuring
- Teaching basic life skills
- Working with students one-on-one and in small groups
- Reading books aloud to spark discussions about story structure, art and social interactions
- Preparing the environment to encourage children’s safe, independent exploration of materials
- Developing and leading activities to assess and promote physical, mental and social-emotional development
- Developing curriculum plans to support instructional objectives
- Incorporating a variety of activities in curriculum plans for any given subject
- Working with therapists and special educators to develop strategies for accommodating children with special needs
- Maintaining accurate records, including attendance records and portfolios of individual child progress
- Using appropriate technology to support exploration of certain concepts
- Ordering and maintaining supplies and classroom materials
- Planning developmentally appropriate outings and field trips
- Maintaining an inclusive classroom
- Displaying student work
- Communicating regularly and openly with teaching teams, parents and administrators
- Supervising student teachers, researchers and other classroom visitors
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Tools and Technology
Many of the tools used by kindergarten teachers are basic toys that contribute significantly to children’s development, such as unit blocks, sensory tables filled with water, sand or other items and dramatic play materials such as playhouses, toy food, toy doctor kits or baby dolls. Teachers may also use audio players and recorders, science kits, board games, cameras and scanners in teaching and in recording children’s progress. Teachers usually need to use email programs and basic office software, such as word processing and spreadsheet software, in the course of their job.
Education and Training for Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education
Most kindergarten teachers need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential to start. Although actual work experience may not be a requirement, an internship as a student-teacher will be necessary. You could complete a program in kindergarten teaching, early childhood education or multilingual education to start you on your way to becoming a kindergarten teacher.
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Salary
The median wage for kindergarten teachers in the United States is $50,600. The top 10 percent make over $78,000, while the lowest-earning 10 percent make around $33,000. Higher earnings may result from a higher level of experience, or from expertise in a specialty field, such as multilingual education.
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education Jobs by Geography
Connecticut claims the highest median wage for kindergarten teachers, at $70,600 per year. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California, Alaska, New York and New Jersey all have median wages of at least $60,000 per year, and 15 other states report at least $50,000 as the annual median. California, New York, Texas and Florida employ the highest number of kindergarten teachers, and nearly all 50 states expect growth in this field.