The early part of a child’s formal education can be the most crucial. The things that children will learn between the ages of 5 and 11, both academically and socially, can shape how they progress through the rest of their education and what role they eventually take on in society. Despite this, elementary teachers are often underappreciated, and their crucial role in a child’s education is underestimated.
One of the reasons they are so vital to our children’s progression is that they can face additional challenges to those in similar middle and junior high teaching positions.
Challenges faced by elementary teachers
Elementary teachers face extra challenges due to the age of their students. Whereas middle and junior high educators can focus more on teaching, an elementary school teacher’s role can overlap with that of a parent when it comes to providing emotional support. This will mean that elementary teachers will often be more empathic than their colleagues.
These are not the only skills an elementary teacher can possess. Many are qualified to a high standard and typically will look to further their career by studying for a qualification that can put them on a path to leadership roles. The Master’s in Elementary Education Merrimack College provides an excellent example of the type of degree they could pursue to improve their skills.
Another challenge faced by those who teach at elementary schools is the very large workload, with many of them working way beyond the time when the school bells ring each day. The overall shortage of teaching staff often increases this challenge.
Reasons for the shortage of elementary teachers
The steady increase in population should mean there is a similar increase in demand for teachers. However, there is a gap between the demand and supply of teaching staff, especially at the elementary level, which is becoming more significant for many factors. Foremost among those reasons is the number of teaching staff leaving the profession versus the number joining.
A teacher who leaves the job after only a few years usually does so because they feel overwhelmed by the role. This would typically be because the individual was employed without the proper training and, as a result, will have poor classroom management skills and a less positive relationship with their students.
For this reason, many of those with ‘relevant experience’ will seek additional qualifications to increase their skill base and become more effective educators.
Additional qualifications for elementary teachers
Teachers who have already attained a bachelor’s degree can achieve further certification to either strengthen their role or open the path to a leadership role. These qualifications (like the one already mentioned above)will typically allow for flexibility of learning around current teaching commitments to provide a paced progression for enrollees.
Further certification can also allow educators to enhance their lesson planning skills, create reading strategies and math techniques, mainstream students, and learning challenges. These skills underline the pivotal role that elementary teachers play and the positive impact they have on a child’s education.