Noted American psychiatrist, Karl Menninger once said: “A teacher is more important than what they teach.” With these words, Menninger rightly sums up the important role that teachers play in our lives.
And you could play such an important role in people’s lives too by becoming a teacher.
If you’re wondering how to become a teacher, this article is just for you. I’m presenting a complete guide on how you can become a teacher while giving details about the benefits of this profession.
In fact, teaching ranks among the highest paying professions in America. But you need to learn a few tweaks on how to leverage your teaching career to make some real big money. Should this sound interesting, continue reading.
For starters, here’re some interesting facts about teachers and teaching.
Interesting Facts about Teachers & Teaching
These interesting facts would enable you to better understand what a teacher actually means and importance of the profession.
Everyone is a Teacher
Practically speaking, all of us are teachers in some way or the other. We teach something to kids, friends and relatives. This means, we’re giving them some skill, knowledge or virtue they lack.
You might be well aware of the popular axiom: “Parents are a child’s first teachers.” That’s because they teach a lot of important things to their children, right from infanthood.
Therefore, the word ‘teacher’ actually means a person that helps someone to learn a skill, gain knowledge, virtues, etiquette, language or anything else that’s useful for life.
To teach a person, you need to possess excellent knowledge about the subject or topic. However, in such cases, the ‘teacher’ doesn’t really require any specific educational qualifications.
Teaching is an Ancient Profession
In fact, teaching ranks among the oldest professions in the world. In ancient India, emperors and kings designated teachers to teach their children to learn everything from basic reading and writing to art of war.
Greek philosophers dating back to the BC era were also known as teachers. Perhaps the most prominent among them is Socrates, who taught his disciple Plato and Antisthenes, who rose to greatness in their own right.
Plato is known as: “Student of a great teacher and teacher of a great student.” Because Plato’s student was also the renowned Greek philosopher, Aristotles.
Greatest Ancient Teachers
Similarly, spiritual figures such as Moses, Abraham, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Gautama Buddha, Lord Krishna are all considered as teachers.
Their teachings are held in great reverence and followed by members of various faiths they founded or came from.
Lao Tzu, a general in the Chinese army is considered as one of the foremost ancient teachers. He’s the author of one of the greatest treatise on warfare, ‘Art of War.’
In fact, Lao Tzu’s teachings and book form syllabus of some of the most modern militaries till today.
Teachings of ancient teachers remain relevant even today. Their teachings about medicine, diplomacy, etiquette and other topics laid the foundation of our societies.
Teachers in Our Times
In our times, a teacher is generally someone that teaches a class of students at school or even a home.
Unlike ancient times, teachers nowadays require certain educational qualifications, certifications and above all, an ability to tutor learners.
A teacher is responsible for her or his students to learn the subject well. They help learners overcome difficulties with lessons and help identify strengths and weaknesses among students for overall development.
Therefore, here’s how you can become a teacher in the US.
How to Become a Teacher in USA
Needless to say, teaching is one of the noblest professions in the world. Thanks to advances in science, technology and other fields, a teacher nowadays has to possess superb skills and knowledge about the subject they’ll teach.
If you wish to join that highly respected community of teachers, follow these simple steps.
Identify Your Favorite Subjects
The very first and basic step to become a teacher is to start identifying your favorite subjects. By this, I mean school or high school subjects that you could learn with ease and liked studying their various topics.
Generally and as a rule, you would have scored high in these subjects because you found learning them very interesting.
Check your score card for these details. If you’ve been scoring consistently high in one or more subjects, they’re the ones where you’ll find teaching easy.
Now it might not be possible for you to become a teacher in all your favorite subjects. Therefore, identify one or two where you would really love to specialize and become a teacher.
Find Your Niche of Students
To become a teacher, the second step is find out which students you can teach easily. There’re various kinds of teachers.
- Early Childhood Learning: Children up to three years age.
- Pre-School & Kindergarten: Age three years to five years.
- Elementary: Age four years to 11 years: Grade: K-5.
- Middle School: Age 11 years to 14 years: Grade: K-6 to K-8.
- High School: Age 14 years to 18 years: Grade K-9 to K-12.
The American education system also allows you to become a teacher in the following categories.
- Students with hearing impairment.
- Students with disabilities.
- Children with autism.
- Education for Specific Communities.
- Teacher at American schools worldwide.
Therefore, decide whom you would love to teach before you embark on your journey to become a teacher. This will prove important to get the necessary qualifications and certifications to become a teacher in America.
As a rule, all teachers in America must hold a Bachelor’s degree from any reputed university.
There’re however some waivers and special considerations available for teachers with physical disabilities that can teach in sign language or Braille and provide basic lessons to learners.
Generally, teachers have to teach a wide range of subjects. Therefore, you’ll have to be able to teach all of these. Hence, you’ll require good knowledge of the American school syllabus for general subjects.
At the same time, if you’re going to teach specialized subjects such as Mathematics, History, English, it’s better to do a specialization in these fields for your Bachelor’s degree.
A Bachelor of Education degree is the best if you wish to become a teacher.
Here you’ll learn of various subjects from the American school curriculum as well as rules and regulations for teaching and instruction techniques to teach efficiently.
Get Supervised Teaching Experience
The next thing to do after getting a Bachelor’s degree is to apply for certification as teacher. However, here’s a tip: instead of going directly for a teacher certification, it’s better to get some supervised teaching experience.
In simple words, it means you’ll be teaching students under the supervision of an experienced and certified teacher.
Supervised teaching experience would help you to clear all the tests necessary for getting certification as teacher from the American government.
Here, it’s worth noting that every state in the US has its own certifications. Therefore, you’ll have to apply in the state where you reside.
Generally, a teaching certificate issued by any state would be valid across the country. Meaning, if you relocate, the certificate would still prove useful. However, this law varies according to each state.
Apply for Teaching Certificate
As I mention earlier, each state has different rules to apply for a teaching certificate to become a teacher. You can refer to this website to find requirements by each state.
Getting a teaching certificate is fairly easy if you’ve the necessary qualifications. And they open up a lot of opportunities for you as teacher.
Additionally, you can also apply for a certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or NBPTS.
This is an optional certification if you hold one from any state. However, it’s also one of the best certifications you could get to become a teacher in America and its overseas territories or US schools in foreign countries.
In any case, any or both of these certifications can help you become a teacher.
Finding Jobs as Teacher
The US Department of Education website that I mention earlier lists teacher vacancies whenever they’re available.
However, the best way to get a job as teacher is by applying to educational institutions in your school district.
Another option is to look online for opportunities as teacher within your city. You might also come across vacancies for teachers in your newspaper.
Job boards and LinkedIn also carry ads for teachers. If you’re planning on applying through LinkedIn, create a killer profile listing all your educational qualifications, certifications and achievements.
Finding jobs as a teacher isn’t really difficult. In fact, teachers are in great demand always. And with the right qualifications and certifications, it’s fairly simple to apply and get an amazing job.
Other Opportunities for Teachers
Nowadays, it’s not necessary for a teacher holding proper qualifications and certifications to work at schools only. Instead, there’re several other superb opportunities available for the right person.
- Home Tutor: In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, there’s a lot of need for home tutors. Meaning, you can teach children at their homes.
- Online Tutor: This is perhaps the most profitable way to work as a teacher. You can join any superb online tutoring company and offer classes to American and foreign students.
- Freelance Teacher: This is also one of the ways to become a teacher in the Covid-19 world in 2021 and beyond. Lots of teachers are freelancing and offer online classes to students.
Median Pay for a Teacher in USA
The median pay for a teacher in America stands at $61,660 per year, according to figures for 2021 available from Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, this pay can be lower or higher depending upon your experience and location.
American teachers in US schools can expect much higher pay. In fact, there’re lots of countries where you’ll find American schools that follow the US national curriculum.
Additionally, some schools in foreign countries look for American teachers because of their high level of skills. Check out various job boards for such vacancies.
The pay for teachers is expected to rise by about six percent every year, in line with policies of the Federal and state governments, according to various sources.
At the same time, the demand for teachers across the US is expected to rise annually by four percent each year, till 2029. This means, now is a good time to become a teacher and launch your career in this honorable profession.
Becoming a teacher also requires superb teaching skills and ability to manage students. You’ll also require a high level of creativity to make learning fun and easy.
However, becoming a teacher means you’re actually helping people to succeed in their lives. The job can prove both enjoyable yet stressful at times.
As the founder of modern Turkey and the country’s former President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said: “A good teacher is like a candle: it burns itself to light the way for others.”