Major: Elementary School Teaching

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Science fiction author Ray Bradbury has penned more than fifty books, including the ever-popular Fahrenheit 451. You'd think a famous futurist would spend all his time dreaming up new electronic devices or planning trips to the moon. Not Bradbury. One of his favorite topics is the importance of, in his words, "teaching kids to read and write and think." For Bradbury, giving children a solid education prepares our whole society to better meet the future.

Maybe you share Bradbury's vision -- or maybe you just like kids. Either way, you might enjoy working as an elementary school teacher. Courses in this major will prepare you to teach all elementary subjects, from reading to 'rithmetic.

This major focuses on the teaching of elementary grades, which can range from kindergarten through eighth grade, depending on the school system.

Did You Know?

Knowing a language that's in demand, such as Spanish, will increase your options when you look for a teaching job.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Student teach under the guidance of an experienced teacher
  • Visit elementary classrooms and write reports on your observations
  • Create lesson plans and practice teaching them in front of your peers
  • Approach your undergraduate liberal-arts classes with an open, curious mind

It Helps To Be...

Good at both sides of the communication equation: listening and speaking. If you are also patient, creative, and well-organized, chances are you'll become that beloved teacher students remember fondly for the rest of their lives.

College Checklist

  • Is the program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education?
  • Is it approved by the state's department of education?
  • Will you be required to pass certain tests in order to become certified?
  • Does the program have particular requirements for teaching kindergarten through grade three, or grades six through eight?
  • Will you be expected to double major in elementary education and another subject such as language arts?

Did You Know?

This is a great profession for people who like variety, since you'll be teaching a number of subjects, from reading to art to computers.

Course Spotlight

During college, you'll visit many elementary school classrooms. As you observe classroom teachers in action, you'll begin to answer important questions: How do I create transitions between activities, moving from a math lesson to a drawing project to a reading circle? How do I balance attention to individual students with management of the class as a whole? How do I interact professionally with parents? 

Shortly before you graduate, you'll student teach for a semester. You'll treasure this chance to test out answers to your own questions and get feedback from an experienced teacher.