Kindergarten Teacher Job Description
Kindergarten teachers mold the first educational experience of young children by teaching basic reading, writing, and social skills. People who are creative, patient, and have strong communication skills make good teachers. Great kindergarten teachers love kids and enjoy shaping young minds for the future. They serve as substitute parent, role model, and teacher. Their classroom instruction covers a variety of topics, such as basic numbers, alphabet letters, natural science, art, and music. Kindergarten teachers’ maximize their students’ potential by creating a safe, fun, learning environment. Using a variety of educational activities, such as songs, stories, games, and art, they energize their student’s learning abilities. Kindergarten teachers work full-time or part-time in a school setting, usually reporting to a principal or educational administrator.
Kindergarten Teacher Duties and Responsibilities
Kindergarten teachers perform a number of core tasks. Based on our review of job listings, these core tasks are:
Teach Foundational Academic Skills
Kindergarten teachers equip their students with basic academic skills that are essential to future learning. They teach letter recognition, writing, and reading skills. They also impart social development norms for the classroom, such as hand-raising, forming lines, appropriate speaking volume, group activities, and classroom behavior.
Provide Foundational Math Instruction
Early childhood teachers educate children on basic math skills, such as simple addition and subtraction. They stimulate problem-solving ability and teach more advanced concepts, such as measurement, fractions, and math application.
Assess Student Development
Assessing student performance is a key responsibility of kindergarten teachers. They evaluate student progress in multiple areas to make sure kids are developing properly. Teachers test to identify pupil strengths and weaknesses. They also help students overcome identified learning and behavioral challenges. Kindergarten teachers are required to continually update parents on their child’s progress.
Practice Classroom Management
Maintaining a safe, well-run classroom that supports independent student learning is a key duty of kindergarten teachers. Classrooms are managed according to school guidelines. Kindergarten teachers monitor children’s interactions to foster healthy cooperation and sharing. Teachers are expected to require positivity and mutual respect among their young students so that everyone feels comfortable to learn.
Attend Staff and Parent Meetings
Successful kindergarten teachers work hard to engage parents and guardians in the education of their children. They build strong relationships with students, their parents, and community leaders. Teachers also regularly attend staff and extra-curricular meetings for school-related activities to support the development of their students.
Kindergarten Teacher Skills and Qualifications
Kindergarten teachers should have a passion for working with young children, as well as strong communication skills. Licensing, certificates, and education required for this position vary by state, but a bachelor’s degree along with one year of teaching experience is typically sought. Employers also prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Instructional skills – to explain new concepts and foreign ideas to students who are learning for the first time; kindergarten teachers must instruct in ways that help young children understand
- Curriculum development – kindergarten teachers must follow state, district, or school curriculum guidelines while designing a teaching plan that meets the needs of their class
- Creative lesson planning – math, reading, writing, creativity, and hands-on play are elements that successful kindergarten teachers combine into their lesson plans
- Classroom management – kindergarten teachers must enforce behavior rules in the classroom to create an effective learning environment
- Writing skills – to write notes to parents, write progress reports, and more
- Strong communication skills – sustaining open lines of communication between parents, fellow staff, and students require excellent speaking and listening skills
Tools of the Trade
Kindergarten teachers work in a school environment and are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:
- Instructional technology and media
- Computer systems (Windows PC or Mac)
- Educational games and art
Kindergarten Teacher Education and Training
To gain employment, kindergarten teachers typically must earn a bachelor’s degree and have a state-issued teaching license or certification. A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or elementary education is common for this position. Many teachers seek a master’s degree in order to advance in their career and earn higher salaries. Continuing education is required for most kindergarten teachers because many states and schools require mandatory training and professional development. Employers find first aid and CPR certifications attractive as well.
Kindergarten Teacher Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of kindergarten teachers is $57,160. The lowest ten percent of workers earn less than $37,340, while the highest ten percent earn more than $92,770. Kindergarten teachers who work full-time in public school systems receive state-mandated benefits, such as health benefits, paid vacations, and federal holidays off.
The BLS predicts that employment for kindergarten teachers will grow 7 percent through 2026, which is about as fast as average for all other occupations. Student enrollments are rising but employment levels greatly vary greatly by region.
There are many helpful resources out there for those interested in becoming a kindergarten teacher. Take a look at these links that are full of learning opportunities to learn, connect, and engage:
National Kindergarten Alliance – Connect with other teachers in kindergarten education, learn best practice, attend meet and greets, workshops, and more.
National Association for the Education of Young Children – A professional membership organization with over 60,000 members from the early childhood community, this organization offers certification, professional development, and training.
Early Childhood Education: Becoming a Professional 1st Edition – Discover how to become a true professional in the world of early childhood education and how to support children in different cultural contexts.
“50 Ideas, Tricks, and Tips for Teaching Kindergarten” – Prepare to teach kids with a large number of skills learned from other kindergarten teachers.
What Kindergarten Teachers Know: Practical and Playful Ways for Parents to Help Children Listen, Learn, and Cooperate at Home – Learn child-management secrets, tools, creative tips, and activities from award-winning kindergarten teachers in this guide that will help you show children how to listen, learn, and think independently.
Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents – Get proven ideas that will help you become a great kindergarten teacher.
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