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Become A Language Teacher

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Working As A Language 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

  • $50,723

    Average Salary

What Does A Language 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 Language 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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Language Teacher jobs

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Language Teacher Career Paths

Language Teacher
Interpreter And Translator Program Manager Education Director
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor English Professor ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Language Instructor Instructor Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Site Coordinator Youth Director
Children's Ministries Director
5 Yearsyrs
Interpreter Case Manager Adjunct Professor
Curriculum Director
9 Yearsyrs
Spanish Teacher Adjunct Instructor Associate Dean
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Language Instructor ESL Instructor English Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Translator Spanish Teacher Lead Teacher
Director Of Preschool
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
12 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Spanish Teacher Pre-K Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Spanish Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
English Language Teacher ESL Instructor Social Studies Teacher
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Curriculum Specialist Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Assistant Director Band Director
Orchestra Director
5 Yearsyrs
Interpreter And Translator Assistant Professor Education Director
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Interpreter Educator Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Translator Lecturer Adjunct Professor
School Superintendent
14 Yearsyrs
English Language Teacher ESL Teacher Social Studies Teacher
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Secondary Teacher 5.0 years
Certified Teacher 4.5 years
Bilingual Teacher 4.4 years
French Teacher 3.8 years
Teacher 3.8 years
Group Teacher 3.6 years
Spanish Teacher 3.6 years
Master Teacher 3.5 years
Art Teacher 3.3 years
Head Teacher 3.3 years
Teacher Advisor 3.2 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.2 years
History Teacher 3.2 years
Literature Teacher 3.1 years
Language Teacher 3.0 years
Resource Teacher 2.9 years
Junior Teacher 2.9 years
Acting Teacher 2.8 years
ESL Teacher 2.7 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
Inclusion Teacher 2.6 years
Peer Teacher 2.6 years
Reading Teacher 2.6 years
Mentor Teacher 2.6 years
GED Teacher 2.6 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
Modeling Teacher 2.5 years
Teacher Associate 2.4 years
Class Teacher 2.4 years
4th Grade Teacher 2.4 years
Visiting Teacher 2.3 years
1st Grade Teacher 2.3 years
Teacher/Tutor 2.3 years
Humanities Teacher 2.2 years
Literacy Teacher 2.0 years
7th Grade Teacher 2.0 years
Co-Teacher 1.7 years
Volunteer Teacher 1.6 years
Teacher Internship 0.8 years
Student Teacher 0.7 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 23.8%
Internship 8.3%
Volunteer 5.7%
Instructor 3.6%
Tutor 3.5%
Translator 3.4%
Top Employers After
Teacher 21.0%
Instructor 5.0%
Internship 4.3%
Volunteer 4.3%
Tutor 4.2%
Translator 4.1%
Lecturer 2.8%

Language Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

64.1%

Male

26.4%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Asian

19.1%

Hispanic or Latino

12.4%

Unknown

4.8%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.2%

Chinese

10.9%

French

9.6%

Japanese

9.4%

Russian

7.4%

Mandarin

5.8%

Arabic

5.1%

German

4.9%

Portuguese

4.0%

Korean

3.8%

Italian

3.8%

Hindi

1.1%

Cantonese

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Dutch

0.9%

Dari

0.9%

Hebrew

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Norwegian

0.7%
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Language Teacher Education

Schools

Brigham Young University

11.0%

University of Washington

6.9%

University of Phoenix

6.9%

New York University

5.5%

Temple University

5.5%

George Mason University

5.5%

Michigan State University

4.8%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.8%

Nova Southeastern University

4.8%

Grand Canyon University

4.8%

National University

4.1%

Northern Arizona University

4.1%

University of Utah

4.1%

University of Mississippi

4.1%

Florida International University

4.1%

Montclair State University

4.1%

University of Georgia

4.1%

University of Maryland - University College

3.4%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.4%

West Virginia University

3.4%
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Majors

Education

12.9%

English

12.2%

Elementary Education

11.1%

Linguistics

10.2%

Teaching English As A Second Language

5.8%

Educational Leadership

5.6%

Business

5.3%

Area Studies

5.0%

Special Education

4.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.5%

Early Childhood Education

3.2%

Psychology

3.1%

East Asian Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics

2.9%

Communication Disorders Sciences

2.5%

Law

2.2%

Nursing

2.1%

Accounting

2.1%

Curriculum And Instruction

1.8%

Music

1.8%

Political Science

1.8%
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Degrees

Masters

39.3%

Bachelors

28.4%

Other

16.7%

Certificate

6.6%

Doctorate

4.8%

Associate

3.2%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Language Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Teacher of Chinese Language Chinese Language School of Connecticut Riverside, CT Jan 09, 2016 $93,915
Teacher of Chinese Language Chinese Language School of Connecticut Riverside, CT Aug 29, 2016 $93,915
Japanese Language Teacher KEIO Academy of New York NY Apr 01, 2015 $90,000
Teacher of Japanese Language KEIO Academy of New York NY Sep 10, 2015 $90,000
Chinese Language Teacher Genius Academy International, Inc. Riverside, CA Jul 27, 2015 $85,660
Spanish Language Teacher Napa Valley Unified School District Napa, CA Jul 01, 2015 $84,659
Spanish Language Teacher Napa Valley Unified School District Napa, CA Sep 12, 2015 $84,659
Dual Language Immersion Teacher Thomas Edison Charter Academy San Francisco, CA Aug 10, 2015 $82,651
Japanese Language Teacher SOKO Gakuen Japanese Language School San Francisco, CA Aug 19, 2015 $80,350
Teacher of Japanese Language KEIO Academy of New York NY Sep 04, 2015 $80,000
Hebrew Language Teacher Jewish Community High School of The Bay San Francisco, CA Jun 30, 2016 $75,970
Speech and Language Disability Teacher Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Norwalk, CA Dec 21, 2015 $73,237
Japanese Language Teacher SOKO Gakuen Japanese Language School San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2015 $73,045
Language Teacher The Cheshire Academy Cheshire, CT Aug 26, 2015 $53,100
Dual Language Teacher Deming Public Schools Deming, NM Sep 14, 2015 $52,400
Dual Language Teacher Deming Public Schools Deming, NM Mar 08, 2016 $52,400
Turkish Language Teacher Hampden Charter School of Science Chicopee, MA Sep 15, 2015 $52,175
Chinese Language Teacher Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, Inc. Princeton, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $52,050
Teacher In Greek Language and Culture Saint Katherine Nursery and Pre-School Falls Church, VA Sep 25, 2016 $52,050
Chinese Language Teacher Saint Ann's School New York, NY Sep 19, 2015 $52,000
Spanish Language Teacher Newport News Public Schools Newport News, VA Feb 01, 2015 $44,023
Bilingual Language Teacher Royal Live Oaks Academy of The Arts and Sciences Charter School Hardeeville, SC Jul 01, 2015 $44,000
Language Teacher Shuang Wen Academy Network New York, NY Aug 25, 2015 $43,827
Chinese Language Teacher Fort Bend Talent Academy Inc. Sugar Land, TX Feb 09, 2016 $43,827
Spanish Language Immersion Teacher Sioux Falls School District 49-5 Sioux Falls, SD Aug 15, 2016 $43,809
Spanish Language Immersion Teacher Sioux Falls School District 49-5 Sioux Falls, SD Jan 07, 2016 $43,783
Turkish Language Teacher Global Spectrum Foundation, Inc. Alpharetta, GA Jan 06, 2016 $43,500
Dual Language Teacher Community Consolidated School District 59 Des Plaines, IL Aug 24, 2016 $43,471 -
$61,471

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Top Skills for A Language Teacher

ClassroomManagementLanguageCurriculumWeeklyLessonPlansGrammarForeignLanguageChineseLanguageESLLanguageArtsSpeechLanguageSkillsHistoryMathematicsLiteratureSpanishLanguageIEPSmallGroupMandarinChineseCultureStudentPerformanceDualLanguageProgram

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Top Language Teacher Skills

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Language Curriculum
  3. Weekly Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Attended professional development workshops focused on learning goals and classroom management.
  • Created and implemented a Spanish Foreign Language Curriculum for students from 7th to 12th grade.
  • Developed teaching curriculum and weekly lesson plans to include elements of culture.
  • Substituted GED preparation classes and provided individual tutoring lessons for Spanish, Reading, Mathematics, Grammar, and Vocabulary.
  • Promoted internationalization via foreign language and world culture education in the communities and schools.

Top Language Teacher Employers

Language Teacher Videos

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