According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for preschool teachers is "expected to grow 19 percent from 2008 to 2018.” Preschool teachers usually work with children between the ages 3 and 5 and are charged with the responsibility of introducing students to reading and writing, expanded vocabulary, creative arts, science and social studies" through a variety of activities. A career as a preschool teacher offers several pros and cons, with varied experiences and shorter work hours among the benefits, and limited contact with adults as a potential drawback.
Make a Difference
“Preschool teachers play a vital role in the development of children” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thus, one of the pros of a preschool teacher’s job is a unique opportunity to shape the life of a young child. In getting to know the needs of each student and her family, the preschool teacher can help the child where it counts the most.
According to Job Bank USA, when working as a preschool teacher, “work is never routine; new activities and challenges mark each day.” As such, with so many different subjects at hand, and an increasing number of children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, every day has the potential to be a new learning experience.
Hours and Time Off
Preschool teachers are employed in various settings, including public and private schools and child care centers. Depending on your particular work environment, there is a lot of potential to work shorter hours, have frequent days off throughout the year and possibly, the entire summer. Public and private schools, for example, typically only operate nine or 10 months out of the year.
Educational and training requirements vary between states and individual programs. However, it is usually necessary to have at least some college education to work as a preschool teacher. For instance, those working in Head Start, a government-sponsored preschool program for low-income children, must hold a minimum of a Child Development Associate credential, or a certificate that exceeds this requirement. For public school programs, a bachelor’s degree and state certification is typically required.
Reduced Salary and Room for Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average preschool teacher’s salary was $23,870 in May 2008. Therefore, salary could be viewed as a con if you are seeking a lucrative career. In addition, “opportunities for advancement are limited in this occupation,” according to Job Bank USA. However, there is some room to grow in the form of supervisory and administrative positions.
Limited Contact with Adults
Due to the nature of a preschool teacher’s work, interaction with other adults is limited. Although there are some opportunities for communicating with co-workers and families, attending to children’s needs and learning is the main focus on this job.