Pros and Cons of Becoming a Second Grade Teacher
If your goal is to influence future generations and make an impact on the lives of children, you may be considering working as a second grade teacher. Read on to see more pros and cons of working as a second grade teacher and see if this career is for you.
|Pros of Becoming a Second Grade Teacher|
|Two-month summer vacations each year*|
|Tenure laws promote job security*|
|Influencing students can be rewarding*|
|As fast as average salary (In May 2014, the average yearly income for elementary teachers was about $56,000)*|
|Cons of Becoming a Second Grade Teacher|
|Job can be stressful*|
|Lesson preparation and grading may have to be completed during evenings and weekends*|
|High level of education may be required*|
|Licensure may also be required*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job Description and Duties
Second grade teachers work in elementary schools educating children. In this position, you'd plan lessons and teach various subjects, such as math, science, reading and social skills. You must evaluate students, provide grades and prepare students for standardized tests. You'll also communicate with parents and other school employees regarding the progress and well-being of your students. Some teachers may have assistants or special education teachers working in their classrooms to help out. Enforcing rules and social norms is a large part of your job. You may also be required to provide supervision for students outside of the classroom during recess or lunch.
Job Growth and Salary
Second grade teachers have a higher-than-average salary. In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average annual salary for elementary school teachers was about $56,000. Job growth was expected to be about average, with a 12% increase projected from 2012-2022. Growth was expected to be greatest in the southern and western regions of the country due to enrollment increases.
What Are the Requirements?
All elementary school teachers must have at least bachelor's degrees. Some teachers major in elementary education while others study a specific content area such as math or language arts and participate in teacher preparation classes. Coursework for students majoring in elementary education includes teaching techniques, classroom management, child psychology, human development and communication. You may also be expected to complete student teaching to gain real-world experience.
To work in a public school, you'll need to be licensed in your state. Though licensure requirements vary by state, you typically must have completed a bachelor's degree program and teacher preparation courses, have obtained supervised teaching experience and pass a test. Annual professional development courses are a common requirement to maintain licensure. Some states require teachers to pursue a master's degree after earning their teaching licenses. Private school teachers may not be required to meet the same licensing expectations.
Job Postings from Real Employers
In addition to education and licensure, employers seek second grade teachers who are caring, technologically savvy and able to motivate students. The real job postings below show the qualifications sought by employers in April 2012.
- In New Jersey, a second grade teacher with 3-5 years of experience is needed. A passion for teaching is necessary and an advanced degree is preferred.
- A charter school in Denver is hiring a second grade teacher to work in a diverse, urban setting. Applicants must be able to form meaningful relationships with students and parents, commit to ongoing professional development, conduct discipline and foster an inclusive learning environment. A Colorado state teaching license is required.
- A Massachusetts school is hiring teachers for grades two and three. Duties include using innovative technology to enhance learning, working with other faculty members to improve lessons and attending professional development events. Candidates must be licensed in the state of Massachusetts or eligible for licensure. A bachelor's degree is required, but a master's is preferred.
- A charter school in Michigan is hiring an innovative elementary teacher to inspire its students. Applicants must be able to develop positive relationships and must be highly motivated to inspire a love of learning in students.
How to Stand out in the Field
Develop Related Skills
As seen in job postings, you may benefit from staying up-to-date with trends in technology and online communication. It could enhance your teaching experience to develop a website or online forum to communicate with parents and community members. You can stand out by using technology and online mediums as teaching tools. As technology becomes more integrated into our everyday lives, employers may look for teachers who can keep students up-to-date with technology.
Consider Your Location
The BLS reports that student enrollment will grow at varying rates from one region of the country to another. It is expected to increase fastest in the South and West. Enrollment is expected to maintain a steady growth rate in the Midwest and decline in the Northeast. The hiring rate of teachers will depend on government budgets. However, a willingness to relocate to an area where jobs are widely available can increase your chances of finding work.
Other Careers to Consider
Middle School Teacher
If you're set on a career in education but don't know if second grade is the right level for you, consider working as a middle school teacher. In this position, you'll most likely work with students somewhere in the sixth through eighth grade range. You'll need to complete education and licensing requirements similar to what is required of elementary school teachers. The average annual salary for middle school teachers was about $56,000 in May 2011 according to the BLS. Job demand was expected to grow as fast as average, at a rate of about 17% from 2010-2020.
School Social Worker
If you want to help students but would rather work outside the classroom, consider becoming a school social worker. Demand for social workers was expected to increase 25% from 2010-2020, which was faster than average. In this career, you'll work with teachers, parents and other school staff to help students with social development and academic performance. You could also help students overcome behavioral problems. You'll need at least a bachelor's degree in social work, but master's degrees are frequently required for positions in schools. You may also need to earn a license depending on your state's requirements. In May 2011, the average annual salary for child, family and school social workers was $44,000 according to the BLS.