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Become A First Grade Teacher

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Working As A First Grade Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $48,000

    Average Salary

What Does A First Grade Teacher Do

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading. 

Duties

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students subjects, such as reading, science, social studies, and math
  • Teach students how to study and communicate with others
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class of students or to smaller groups
  • Grade students’ assignments to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach children proper behavior
  • Supervise children outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or recess

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers help students learn and apply important concepts. Many teachers use a hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical thinking skills. For example, they may demonstrate how to do a science experiment and then have the students conduct the experiment themselves. They may have students work together to learn how to collaborate to solve problems.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally teach kindergarten through fourth or fifth grade. However, in some schools, elementary school teachers may teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. They typically teach students several subjects throughout the day.

Some teachers may teach in a multilevel classroom that includes students across two or more grades. They may teach the same group of students for several years.

Kindergarten and elementary school students spend most of their day in one classroom. Teachers may escort students to assemblies; to classes taught by other teachers, such as art or music; or to recess. While students are away from the classroom, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers may work in subject specialization teams in which they teach one or two specific subjects, either English and social studies or math and science. Generally, students spend half their time with one teacher and half their time with the other.

Some kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

Some schools employ teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Both of these types of teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language, often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). The teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help them with assignments from other classes.

Students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Kindergarten and elementary teachers work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to these students’ needs and monitor the students’ progress. In some cases, kindergarten and elementary school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students in higher grades, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.

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How To Become A First Grade Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. They typically enroll in their college’s teacher preparation program and also take classes in education and child psychology in addition to those required by their major.

In teacher education programs, future teachers learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit teach.org.

Some states require all teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification.

Private schools typically seek kindergarten and elementary school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are typically certified to teach early childhood grades, which are usually preschool through third grade, or elementary school grades, which are usually first through sixth grades or first through eighth grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, they are required to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. States often require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach. Although kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do not teach only a single subject, they may be required to pass a content area test to earn their certification. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit teach.org.

Teachers are frequently required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately after graduation, under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing one of these programs.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with teacher assistants and special education teachers. In addition, they need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Creativity. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must plan lessons that engage young students, adapting the lessons to different learning styles.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with kindergarten and elementary-aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. In addition, they must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to meet students’ needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to newer teachers or to become lead teachers. In these roles, they help less experienced teachers to 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 schooling in education administration or leadership.

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First Grade Teacher Career Paths

First Grade Teacher
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Tutor Team Leader Training Manager
Director Of Training
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Tutor Lead Teacher
Lead Pre-K Teacher
5 Yearsyrs
2nd Grade Teacher Social Studies Teacher Adjunct Professor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Coach Consultant Principal
High School Principal
9 Yearsyrs
Coach Account Executive Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Coach Administrator Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Administrator Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Instructor Team Leader Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Coordinator Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Social Studies Teacher Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Program Director Camp Director
Child Care Director
5 Yearsyrs
2nd Grade Teacher Math Teacher Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Literacy Teacher Kindergarten Teacher Early Childhood Special Educator
Early Childhood Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Resource Teacher Principal Assistant Superintendent
Director Of Special Education
11 Yearsyrs
Social Studies Teacher Education Consultant Elementary School Principal
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Language Arts Teacher Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Bilingual Teacher 4.6 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.3 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.7 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.7 years
Reading Teacher 2.6 years
4th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
1st Grade Teacher 2.3 years
Literacy Teacher 2.3 years
Top Careers Before First Grade Teacher
Teacher 13.7%
Internship 3.4%
Tutor 3.0%
Volunteer 1.9%
Top Careers After First Grade Teacher
Teacher 16.1%
Tutor 3.0%
Director 1.7%
Coach 1.7%
Volunteer 1.7%

Do you work as a First Grade Teacher?

First Grade Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

81.9%

Unknown

10.3%

Male

7.8%
Ethnicity

White

62.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.0%

Black or African American

12.8%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.4%

French

8.6%

Arabic

3.6%

Italian

2.5%

Korean

2.2%

German

1.9%

Greek

1.7%

Portuguese

1.7%

Chinese

1.7%

Urdu

1.4%

Hindi

1.1%

Russian

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%

Mandarin

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Tagalog

0.6%

Irish

0.6%

Polish

0.6%

Swahili

0.3%

Cherokee

0.3%
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First Grade Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.2%

Walden University

10.7%

Grand Canyon University

10.3%

National Louis University

5.8%

Nova Southeastern University

5.5%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Liberty University

4.8%

Northern Arizona University

4.7%

University of Houston

4.2%

Towson University

4.1%

University of South Florida

3.9%

University of Central Florida

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Lesley University

3.5%

Sam Houston State University

3.4%

Texas A&M University

2.9%

Wayne State University

2.8%

Touro College

2.8%

Michigan State University

2.7%

New York University

2.7%
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Majors

Elementary Education

34.2%

Education

16.2%

Early Childhood Education

11.7%

Educational Leadership

6.4%

Special Education

5.9%

Curriculum And Instruction

4.6%

Psychology

2.4%

Business

2.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.1%

Interdisciplinary Studies

2.0%

Teaching Assistants/Aides

2.0%

English

1.7%

School Counseling

1.6%

Human Development

1.4%

Counseling Psychology

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.1%

Educational Technology

1.1%

Social Work

0.8%

Communication

0.8%

Sociology

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

43.5%

Bachelors

38.2%

Other

10.9%

Certificate

3.5%

Doctorate

1.7%

Associate

1.6%

License

0.4%

Diploma

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$48,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$34,000
Min 10%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Alexandria City Public Schools
Highest Paying City
Westfield, NJ
Highest Paying State
Maryland
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a First Grade Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a First Grade Teacher in the United States is $48,841 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $34,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $68,000.

Real First Grade Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
First Grade Bilingual Teacher Providence School Department Providence, RI Dec 02, 2010 $69,864
First Grade Lead Teacher Excellence Girls Charter School New York, NY Sep 30, 2009 $60,689
First Grade Lead Teacher Excellence Girls Charter School New York, NY Sep 16, 2009 $60,689
First-Grade Dual Language Teacher Alexandria City Public Schools Alexandria, VA Aug 13, 2013 $56,100 -
$76,065
First Grade Head Teacher Brooklyn Friends School, Inc. New York, NY Aug 26, 2013 $55,000
First Grade Bilingual Teacher Tyler Independent School District Tyler, TX Aug 13, 2012 $54,005
First Grade Biligual T Eacher Tyler Independent School District Tyler, TX Aug 13, 2011 $54,000
First Grade Bilingual Teacher Tyler Independent School District Tyler, TX Aug 13, 2010 $53,262
First Grade Teacher Covenant Classical School Naperville, IL Oct 15, 2013 $52,880
First Grade Teacher North Davis Preparatory Academy Layton, UT Sep 30, 2014 $51,886
First Grade Teacher North Davis Preparatory Academy Layton, UT Oct 01, 2011 $51,075
Associate Teacher, First Grade, Chinese Avenues New York LLC New York, NY Aug 22, 2016 $51,020
First Grade Bilingual Teacher Madison Metropolitan School District Madison, WI Aug 17, 2015 $50,000 -
$65,000
First Grade Lead Teacher The Magellan School Austin, TX Aug 24, 2014 $48,888
First Grade Bilingual Teacher Odyssey 2020 Academy, Inc. Galveston, TX Aug 01, 2015 $48,000
Associate Teacher-First Grade (Spanish) Avenues New York LLC New York, NY Jul 01, 2012 $47,100
Associate Teacher-First Grade (Mandarin Chinese) Avenues New York LLC New York, NY Sep 20, 2012 $47,080
First Grade Teacher Manhattan Country School New York, NY Feb 27, 2012 $47,080
First Grade Teacher Manhattan Country School New York, NY Sep 07, 2012 $47,080
Associate Teacher-First Grade (Mandarin Chinese) Avenues World Holdings LLC New York, NY Sep 14, 2012 $47,080
First Grade Spanish Immersion Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Oct 01, 2012 $45,968
First Grade Teacher North Davis Preparatory Academy Layton, UT Aug 31, 2015 $44,213
Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher FEI Yue Preschool Westfield, NJ Jan 07, 2016 $44,000
First Grade Teacher Harding Academy Nashville, TN Jul 01, 2010 $43,585
First Grade Spanish Immersion Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Jan 01, 2012 $43,333
Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher FEI Yue Preschool Westfield, NJ Dec 07, 2016 $43,000
First Grade Spanish Immersion Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Aug 13, 2015 $42,949
First Grade Spanish Immersion Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Oct 01, 2015 $42,949

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Top Skills for A First Grade Teacher

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Mathematics
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Attended variety of professional development workshops centered for learning goals, classroom management, student motivation, and engaging learning activities.
  • Provide lesson plans, re-teaching, student enrichment, curriculum development and technology integration.
  • Prepared and delivered lessons on elementary reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Created differentiated lesson plans for reading before current reading curriculum was adopted.
  • Utilized ongoing informal and formal assessment to measure effectiveness of teaching and optimize student learning, adapting instruction when needed.

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Top 10 Best States for First Grade Teachers

  1. California
  2. Connecticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Alaska
  5. New York
  6. Michigan
  7. New Jersey
  8. Oregon
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Minnesota
  • (3,257 jobs)
  • (257 jobs)
  • (381 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (438 jobs)
  • (437 jobs)
  • (583 jobs)
  • (133 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (316 jobs)

Top First Grade Teacher Employers

Jobs From Top First Grade Teacher Employers

First Grade Teacher Videos

A Day In the Life of a Teacher: The Documentary

Elementary School Teacher, Career Video from drkit.org

Elementary School Teacher Career Information : Elementary School Teacher Salary

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