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Q&A #19965


Becoming a math teacher

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From: Claire (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Dec 09, 2008 at 13:09:33
Subject: Re: Becoming a math teacher

Hi, Jasmine --

Thanks for writing to T2T. Each state maintains its own standards and
requirements for licensing teachers. Make sure that you inquire about these
in the specific state(s) you wish to teach in before you get too far along. I
can tell you what I know to be true in the states I've had some contact with.

It's safe to say you need a bachelor's degree to teach anywhere. Look for a
college/university that has a good reputation for training elementary
teachers. Any such program should include all the courses and practice
teaching you need to become certified in that state. Whatever you do, try to
get as much hands-on classroom experience as you can under the supervision of
a master teacher.

Some states also have alternative certification programs for people who want
to teach but have college degrees in other fields. These usually involve some
classwork and practice teaching, but only require one or two years.

In most elementary schools it's common for teachers below grade 5 to teach
all subjects. Starting in grade 5 it starts becoming more common for programs
to be more "departmentalized" or at least for teams of teachers to share a
group of students and teach just one or two subjects.

If you're interested in specializing in math but teaching younger children,
you should prepare as a general elementary teacher and then maybe look for a
school/district position as a math coordinator/coach/specialist. Having some
regular classroom teaching under your belt would be a big plus.

I hope this is helpful. Please write again if you have more questions,
especially as you progress along your career path.

Good luck!

 -Claire, for the T2T service

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