Elementary School Teacher

Alexis Gonzalez - Period 3

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Plan lessons that teach students subjects, such as math and reading
  • Teach students as a class or in small groups
  • Monitor students' progress and grades assignments
  • Communicate with students' parents about students' progress
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach proper behavior
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by state

Average Hours & Working Schedule

Generally work school hours when students are present. They may meet with parents, students, and other teachers before and after school. They often spend time in the evenings and on weekends grading papers and preparing lessons. Elementary teachers generally work the traditional 10-month school year, with a 2-month break during the summer. Some teachers may teach summer programs. Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 8 weeks in a row, are on break for 1 week, and have a 5-week midwinter break.


The median annual wage of elementary school teachers was $51,660.

Education Needed

It is required for all public elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed. Elementary school teachers are certified to teach early childhood grades (preschool through third), or elementary school grades (first through eighth). Elmhurst College offers a major in elementary education.

Skills Required

Communication Skills - Teachers must collaborate with teacher assistants and special education teachers. They also need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Creativity - Elementary school teachers must plan lessons that engage young students, adapting the lessons to every student’s learning style.

Instructional Skills - Elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. They also must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to each student’s needs.

Patience - Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Elementary school teachers must respond patiently when students struggle with material.

Job Outlook/Growth

Employment of elementary school teachers is expected to grow by 17% from 2010 to 2020. Growth is expected because of both declines in student–teacher ratios and increases in enrollment. A significant number of older teachers is expected to reach retirement age from 2010 to 2020. Therefore, their retirement will create job openings for new teachers.

Advancement Opportunities

Experienced teachers can advance to be mentors or lead teachers. These teachers often work with less experienced teachers to help them improve their teaching skills. With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional education in education administration or leadership.