5 Tips for Deciding Which Grade Level You Want to Teach at
Many people strongly feel that they want to teach, and they often have these feelings from the time that they themselves are youngsters in school. Even when you develop this desire later in life, the passion for the field is still quite strong. Before getting started in the classroom, however, you must decide what grade level you want to teach at. This decision is a significant one, and you can follow some tips to help narrow down the possibilities.
Define Your Teaching Goals
When other people ask why you want to teach, you might say that you wish to help young people develop a love for learning, or you may respond by saying that you like working with kids. However, you need to make these goals more specific when deciding what grade level to teach at. Sit down, grab a pen and make a list of your precise teaching goals. If you want to help learners prepare for their careers, teaching high school or college is likely your niche. If you want to motivate young children to care about learning the basics and beyond, consider opting for a degree in early childhood education.
Consider Content Knowledge
You also need to think about how deep you want to go into the content. For example, you might want to teach the basics of math, so you could opt to instruct at the elementary level. When you want to go a bit more into the subject, middle school may be a more suitable grade level for you.
Review Lesson Plans
One way to get a strong sense of what grade level you want to teach is to look at lesson plans for different ages of students. Lesson plans are pretty readily available online, but do make sure you are reviewing the material on a reputable site. If you are currently enrolled in a college program, you could also ask your instructor for sample lesson plans. Looking at lesson plans can give you a real idea of what a day at work might look like for you in different grades.
Many college programs require students to conduct observations in order to earn their degree. Of course, you will likely have to define at least a specific grade range you want to teach in to get into the program in the first place. Observations, however, can help you to narrow down the exact grade level you want to teach at more though. During observations, you can see how the day plays out at different grade levels and get a sense of what you would prefer.
One of the best ways to figure out what grade you want to teach for your career is to actually get experience in the classroom. A college program is likely going to require you to student teach, so you can start to get this experience before you even have a classroom of your own. Keep in mind that starting a career is a learning experience. For example, you might decide that the grade you teach at the start of your career isn’t the grade you want to teach forever. Revising your plans is perfectly acceptable.
At the very start of your journey toward becoming a teacher, you might feel overwhelmed by having to pick a certain grade to teach. Keep in mind that strategies exist for navigating this challenge and for finding your path.