Ask any child who their favorite teacher was and most can name the teachers who have impacted them without thinking about it. The opportunity to mold young minds and teach them skills that they can use throughout their lives holds a reward like no other career. Individuals who want to become teachers need to prepare early to gain the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for future employment.
Each state issues licenses to teachers based on specific educational criteria. All states require teachers in public school systems to hold a bachelor’s degree. Several states also require teachers to hold a master’s degree majoring in education and allow teachers a set amount of time to complete this degree. Most states allow teachers who hold a bachelor’s degree in their subject but lack educational coursework to seek alternative licenses. The alternative license allows teachers to teach coursework without the traditional license when a teacher shortage exists. Private school teachers do not need to follow state educational requirements, although many hold the same degrees.
In addition to meeting educational requirements, states require teachers to spend time student teaching. Student teaching allows the new teacher to practice leading a classroom full of students. An experienced teacher supervises the student teacher, providing feedback on the student teacher’s technique. This allows the student teacher to gain useful experience that she can expand on in the future.
Most states require teachers to pass skill tests in reading and writing. Teachers must demonstrate competency in the subjects they plan to teach. Teachers in elementary schools teach a variety of courses and must be familiar with the materials taught in each of those subjects. All teachers need organizational skills in order to plan their classroom activities. Teachers also need effective time management skills as they need to present the necessary material within the time constraints of the classroom.
Teachers use communication skills throughout their workday. Teachers communicate orally with other teachers, administration and students. Interacting with each group requires a different skill set. Communicating with students requires the teacher to hold the position of authority, while communicating with administration requires the teacher to hold the position of subordinate. Written communication skills are also necessary. Classroom projects, letters to parents and lesson plans require using the written language.