Ganan, Leslie - Elementary School Teacher

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[edit] Job Title (Leslie Ganan)

Elementary School Teacher

[edit] General Overview

Elementary school teachers play an important role in the education and development of children. They teach students from ages anywhere from 4 – 13, in classrooms of around 20 students. They teach basic subjects such as reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as English and French as a second language. They teach at either public or private elementary schools. Elementary school librarians are also seen as teachers[1].

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

• Teaching and Instruction: teachers need to develop lesson plans for variety of subjects. They may use demonstrations and props to teach different subjects. Lesson plans include classroom work, class instructions, tests and quizzes. They assign homework to students to reinforce the lessons that they learn in the classroom. Teachers schedule educational field trips for students during the year to provide them with some fun learning experiences outside of the classroom. Part of their job is also to motivate and inspire young children to develop a lifelong love of learning and education. They teach the entire classroom all at once most of the time, but sometimes they may work with children in small groups or individually if they are struggling with the classroom material. Teachers do not just teach children the classroom material, but also teach them how to work and collaborate with others[2].

• Assessments, Evaluations and Grading: teachers evaluate the student's comprehension and knowledge of the course material. They use assessments of homework, assignments, quizzes and tests to determine a student’s progress in school. By observing the children, teachers may be able to identify learning or behavioural problems in some children. These do not only help them identify problem students but also exceptional ones. Teachers keep records of grades and attendance for each student in the classroom [2].

• Supervision and Classroom Control: teachers lead the classroom so they are the ones who set the rules for behaviour. They supervise children’s behaviour outside of the classroom setting (during lunch, recess and on field trips). They are responsible for establishing an environment in which children can learn. They may discipline disruptive students as well as praise those who perform well[2].

• Parent/Teacher Meetings: teachers have to meet with parents to discuss the student's progress in the classroom a few times throughout the year. They may discuss the lesson plans and classroom materials with the parents and they may offer suggestions about working with their kids in order to provide them with extra help or tutoring if they are not doing very well in class[2].

• Attending Conferences and Workshops: teachers attend workshops and conferences throughout the year in order to stay up to date with issues in teaching and to learn new teaching techniques[2].

[edit] Typical Workday

Elementary school teachers usually start their day by arriving at the school at 7:15am. They spend the first hour preparing lessons that will be taught that day. They teach about 5 lessons a day, an hour each. They teach until around 10:30am at which time they take a short break. They might have to do playground duty at this time, if not they take this time to do some marking or preparing for the next lesson. They then teach again until 12:30pm at which time the students have lunch. Teachers might have to do playground duty again at this time. If not, they take the time to eat lunch and to do some marking or preparing for the next lesson. They teach again until 3:15pm at which time school is done. Teachers will usually spend 2 hours marking, planning, checking emails and preparing for the next day. They may do this after school or at home usually 3 nights per week. They leave the school around 6:30pm or maybe later if parents are coming in or if they are involved with other school activities [3]. On average, elementary school teachers work a total of about 62 hours per week [4]. Elementary school teachers get summers off in which they may choose to do additional qualification courses.

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

Elementary school teachers must complete a minimum of three years of postsecondary degree from an acceptable postsecondary institution. They must have successfully completed a one year acceptable teacher education program. They must then apply to get their certification by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) to teach in Ontario’s publicly funded schools, for which they will have to pay a registration fee and an annual membership fee to maintain their membership and certification. The application process includes providing proof of identity and Canadian Criminal Record Check Report[5]. They need to have in class experience which is acquired through teachers college by doing placements at different elementary schools throughout the year.

There are Additional Qualification (AQ) courses that are provided by the OCT that are not mandatory but very helpful in order to get a job as a teacher and enhance their teaching practices [6]. Often teachers do these when they want to continue their professional learning. These are courses that expand your knowledge in working with special education students, in English as a Second Language, working with technology in the classroom, etc. There are also the Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQ) which are subject specific and teachers would obtain if they want to move up from their current teaching level (ex. from elementary school teacher to high school teacher).

[edit] Related skills, interests and abilities

There are several skills that elementary school teachers must possess in order to be successful. They must have instructing skills since they are teaching students literacy and numeracy. They must have speaking skills to be able to talk to the students and convey the information effectively and in a way that they will understand. Active listening skills are also needed since they must listen to what others are saying, take the time to understand their points, and not interrupt them at inappropriate times. Time management skills are important since teachers have a lot of different time-consuming tasks that need to be completed before deadlines. Writing skills are also important, not only in the way that they communicate their thoughts but in how they write them since students need to be able to read and understand their writing. Social perceptiveness skills to be able to be aware of others reactions and understanding why they react as they do. Teachers must also be patient while working with students who may not always understand concepts quickly, might get distracted and might not want to focus on the lessons [7].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

Psychology is the foundation of education [8]. Many courses that are offered in the psychology program are also offered as part of the child and youth or concurrent education program because they complement each other. Psychology can be applied to everyday life because it is the understanding of human behaviours and interactions. Cognition is related to teaching because you need to understand that every child has different mental abilities and learns at a different pace. Learning classes help to understand the learning process which again, all kids experience differently. Theories of Development and Socialization and Personality look at child and youth development and socialization as well as the different types of personalities that children, as well as adults, may have. This is very important when working with children because you are not only teaching kids about subjects and how read and write, but as a teacher, you must also be able to interpret kid's behaviours in order to help improve their learning skills.

[edit] Salary potential

Elementary School Teachers earn an average salary of $50,095 per year. On average the starting salary for this job is $43,816 per year and can reach $92,044 per year. More experience as well as a skill in French Language are associated with higher pay[9].

[edit] Job outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are good. Since 2011, the number of elementary school-age children has been and will continue to increase by an average of 2.1% per year which has led to an increase in school enrollment. Since there are more students enrolling in school, more teachers have been getting hired. There has also been a reduction in the number of students per classroom because of the large amount of students who have learning and/or behavioural problems. This has led to more teachers being needed in order to be able to provide extra assistance to these students. This is especially for teachers who have specialized in remedial education, arts, health, second-language instruction and physical education. There will be an increase in job openings for this position due to a large amount of them retiring, getting promoted, or simply needed to be replaced. Given all these overall trends, the number of elementary school teachers is expected to increase by 17 percent between 2010 and 2020 [10].

[edit] To know more

[edit] Notes and References

  1. Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers (2013) Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Tasks and Responsibilities of Elementary School Teachers (n.d)Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  3. A day in the life of an elementary school teacher (n.d.) Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  4. Six teachers on a typical workday (2013) Retrieve February 11, 2015 from
  5. Requirements (n.d.) Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  6. Additional Qualifications (n.d.) Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  7. Elementary School Teacher (n.d.) Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  8. Soleiman, A. & Vahedi, M. (2011) The Role of Educational Psychology in Teacher Education Programs, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 30, 327-330
  9. Elementary School Teacher Salary (2014) Retrieved February 11, 2015 from
  10. What Is the Job Outlook for Teachers (n.d) Retrieved March 26, 2015 from
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