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Become A Social Studies Teacher

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Working As A Social Studies 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

  • $54,130

    Average Salary

What Does A Social Studies 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 Social Studies 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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Social Studies Teacher Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
History Teacher 3.2 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
Mentor Teacher 2.5 years
Humanities Teacher 2.3 years
7th Grade Teacher 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 21.9%
Internship 5.0%
Tutor 4.1%
Instructor 3.2%
Coach 2.4%
Volunteer 2.4%
Top Employers After
Teacher 22.5%
Principal 6.8%
Instructor 3.5%
Director 3.2%
Internship 2.8%
Tutor 2.6%
Volunteer 2.4%

Do you work as a Social Studies Teacher?

Social Studies Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

49.5%

Male

48.6%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

63.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

12.6%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.4%

French

11.1%

German

5.0%

Arabic

4.0%

Chinese

3.8%

Portuguese

3.5%

Korean

3.1%

Italian

3.1%

Russian

2.8%

Mandarin

2.1%

Japanese

1.9%

Polish

1.4%

Urdu

0.9%

Hawaiian

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%

Turkish

0.5%

Hindi

0.5%

Indonesian

0.5%

Albanian

0.5%

Greek

0.5%
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Social Studies Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.7%

Grand Canyon University

12.2%

Walden University

7.3%

Liberty University

5.7%

Nova Southeastern University

5.6%

Capella University

4.8%

Northern Arizona University

4.7%

Michigan State University

4.2%

Johns Hopkins University

4.1%

Appalachian State University

3.8%

Georgia State University

3.8%

University of Florida

3.7%

Florida State University

3.7%

Ball State University

3.5%

University of Northern Colorado

3.4%

University of South Florida

3.4%

East Carolina University

3.4%

Texas State University

3.4%

Texas A&M University

3.4%

Montclair State University

3.4%
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Majors

Education

17.4%

Elementary Education

15.8%

History

13.2%

Educational Leadership

12.4%

Secondary Education And Teaching

5.9%

Curriculum And Instruction

4.1%

Political Science

3.9%

Special Education

3.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.7%

Business

3.3%

Social Sciences

3.0%

English

2.6%

School Counseling

1.8%

Educational Technology

1.6%

Psychology

1.6%

Law

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Sociology

1.1%

Kinesiology

1.1%

Counseling Psychology

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

47.4%

Bachelors

27.8%

Other

13.8%

Doctorate

5.1%

Certificate

3.9%

Associate

1.2%

License

0.4%

Diploma

0.3%
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Real Social Studies Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary New York University New York, NY Dec 18, 2013 $195,700
Social Studies Teacher KEIO Academy of New York NY Apr 01, 2015 $90,000
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Feb 25, 2014 $85,000
Teacher, Social Studies/Economics J.C. Education Center NY Sep 18, 2013 $80,266
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Trustees of Amherst College Amherst, MA Jul 10, 2014 $80,000
Social Studies Teacher KEIO Academy of New York NY Sep 04, 2015 $80,000
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Georgetown University Washington, DC Apr 29, 2014 $80,000
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Columbia University New York, NY Sep 23, 2014 $79,999
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Hamilton College Clinton, NY Sep 03, 2014 $74,500
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary New York University New York, NY Jun 12, 2014 $73,841
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA Apr 25, 2014 $71,500
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA Mar 19, 2014 $71,188
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA Aug 25, 2014 $71,004
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI Dec 10, 2013 $70,179
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Mar 31, 2014 $64,833
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Depaul University Chicago, IL Mar 04, 2014 $64,500
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Sarah Lawrence College Bronxville, NY May 31, 2013 $63,430
Islamic Studies Teacher Scholars and Leaders Foundation, Inc. Clifton, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $62,610
ESL and Social Studies Teacher St. Johnsbury Academy Saint Johnsbury, VT Jan 14, 2016 $62,015
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary State University of New York at Binghamton Binghamton, NY Sep 23, 2013 $62,000
Social Studies Teacher Houston Independent School District Bellaire, TX Aug 13, 2014 $61,804
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary University of Nevada, Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV Jul 05, 2013 $61,500
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary Pacific University Forest Grove, OR Aug 15, 2013 $52,130
Social Studies Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Aug 15, 2016 $51,649
Social Studies Teacher Center for Education, Training, and Holistic Appro Delray Beach, FL Oct 01, 2014 $51,355
Middle School Social Studies Teacher Clarendon School District One Summerton, SC Jul 30, 2013 $50,941
Social Studies Teacher Guilford County Schools Jamestown, NC Nov 01, 2013 $50,810
Social Studies Teacher Guilford County Schools Jamestown, NC Jun 17, 2015 $50,810
Cultural Studies Teacher Zionist Organization of America New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $48,377

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Top Skills for A Social Studies Teacher

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  1. History
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Social Studies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed curriculum to certify the Advanced Placement History program for New Jersey state requirements.
  • Demonstrated effective classroom management of racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse student population.
  • Planned and administered eighth-grade social studies lessons to students requiring remediation.
  • Implemented various aspects of Minnesota Historical Society's Northern Lights Curriculum into daily educational courses.
  • Collaborated with school administrators and special education department to design and implement lesson plans for students with learning disabilities.

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Top Social Studies Teacher Employers

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Jobs From Top Social Studies Teacher Employers

Social Studies Teacher Videos

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High School Social Studies Teacher, Career Video from drkit.org

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