Mathematics Teacher

By: Elaina Kinney

The Career

Job Description


Mathematics teachers teach students of all ages in classrooms around the United States. They typically teach children and teens, but some may teach adults or continue their careers at community colleges or universities. Overall, math teachers goals are to help their students develop critical-thinking skills by gaining an understanding of mathematical concepts.

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Daily Tasks and Responsibilities

Math teachers have to actively instruct their students, have to create lesson plans, assign and correct homework, manage students in the classroom, communicate with their parents or guardians, and help students prepare for standardized testing. These are the basic responsibilities of a math teacher. These responsibilities can vary depending if it an elementary school and higher grade levels. For examples, in high school, math teachers may need to help students with college entry exams and prepare for graduation, while in elementary schools, math teachers must have their students master basic skills. In Junior high, or middle school, math teachers may have to prepare them for high school level math and the basic ways of high school.

Education and Training Needed

Most math teaching positions require a minimum of an undergraduate degree. Education degree programs prepare math teachers specifically for the classroom and teaching math to students. It is not required, but is highly recommended. Education degree programs also focus on the art of teaching, including topics such as curriculum development, along with how students learn. Math teachers are take specific courses focused on how to teach children of certain ages. For example, if someone wanted to teach elementary school students then they would take a course that teaches those students.

Preferred Job Skills

Knowledge of mathematics is an important job skill to have if someone wants to be a mathematics teacher. To be a successful math teacher, it is good to have an extensive knowledge in mathematics. Taking multiple college level courses can help a lot. The knowledge that the teacher has can allow the teacher to confidently teach their students and not look at the back of a teachers guide for answers. The teacher being confident in their teaching can give the students the ability to trust the teacher on being able to successfully teach them.


Teaching strategies is another important job skill to have because not all students learn the same way. The teacher should keep up with the best practices in math and regularly incorporate them in their instruction, so that all of their students are able to learn and understand the concepts easily. The teacher should also find multiple ways to solve problems and use those strategies to help students who are struggling with a new concept.


Having leadership in the classroom is key to being a successful teacher. It is also a job skill that all math teachers should have. In the classroom, the math teacher should be known as the leader and should be respected, not only for their knowledge in mathematics, but for the overall attitude and actions. The teacher should also respect their students and the students should know that the teacher respects them as well. Discipline should also be consistent and fair if students misbehave.


A math teacher should also care about their students and be concerned about them if they are struggling. The math teacher should care more about her students being taught than the material being taught. The teacher should recognize when a students having abad day and encourage them to keep trying. The teacher should also understand that life can get in the way of homework and studying can be cut back, so the teacher should give the student a second chance and assess the student in any way possible.

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Job Outlook

When someone becomes a math teacher, they may become familiar with the other math teachers in their school and the other teachers around them. The math teacher will have lots of students and will have to become familiar with them too.

Salary

As of 2013, the average salary for a secondary school teacher in the United States is $59,330. The average salary for a secondary school teacher in Illinois is $58,260.
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Work Environment

A teachers working environment can be stressful because you have to have a constant smile and positive and encouraging attitude for their students. You also need to be in contact with parents, deal with problems at home if there are any. Teachers should take time for themselves too, so they don't get overwhelmed with all the stress of work. Teachers also do a lot of standing up and that can be very hard on their body over time. Teachers may not have a strict schedule for lunch breaks and bathroom breaks. All of that can wear on their body over time. There are also intense work cycles such as the few weeks before and during school when you’re getting prepared and being with new students. Work hours are also misleading. People may think teachers have minimal work hours, but they don’t. Most teachers work far beyond the school days. They spend a big portion of their evenings, weekends, and summers planning lessons, grading papers, and communicating with parents.

High School Preparation Requirements

Related Courses

In West Leyden, these are the courses you can take that will help you become a math teacher:

  • Human Development: School-Aged Years

  • Taste of Teaching

  • As many math classes as possible

  • A foreign language class

  • Childcare

There are a lot of classes you can take that people can take to become a math teacher. These are just some of the courses people can take.

Extra-curricular Activities

At West Leyden, the only extra-curricular activity is being apart of a Math Club.

Work/Volunteer Experience.

Tutoring would be a good work experience for this job because tutoring is one on one teaching to someone who doesn't know something or need help with understanding it. Teaching is sort of like tutoring. It's the same concept, but it is just with one or a few people instead of a classroom. So, tutoring would be good work experience because it can give people the experience of being a teacher, but with fewer people.

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Post-secondary Plan

College

The three colleges I would take to help me further my plan on becoming a math teacher is University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northern Illinois University, and Illinois State University. I choose this three universities because they all have an emphasis on a major in mathematics. Possible college majors for my career would be a major in mathematics and a major in education.

Certificate

To become a teacher, you need a state license that says you are able to teach a classroom.

Internship/Apprentice Opportunities

A good internship opportunity is to become a student teacher.