Elementary School Teachers help children develop and improve their literacy skills (e.g. reading and writing) as well as their knowledge of basic subjects such as mathematics and social science, using lessons, discussions, audio-visual presentations, and field trips. To evaluate children’s learning progress, Teachers will also prepare tests and examinations and grade students based on their performance.
Some Teachers may specialize in such areas as special education and second language instruction, or in the following subjects: arts, cooking, crafts, home economics, nature study, and physical education. All Elementary School and Kindergarten Teachers are hired by public and private elementary schools.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Teachers are required to complete.
- Preparing subject material and presenting it to students, while complying with the approved curriculum.
- Reviewing the curriculum and developing alternate approaches to presenting lessons to increase student understanding:
- Identifying students’ individual learning and behavioural needs;
- responding quickly to students’ different and individual needs, temperament styles, skills, and abilities;
- supporting students and parents with alternate strategies and providing additional assistance with daily assignments and projects, as needed; and
- preparing and implementing remedial programs for students requiring extra help.
- Ensuring the students’ personal and social development:
- Offering concrete tools and discussing strategies to improve leadership, stress management, self-confidence, decision-making skills, as well as communication and interpersonal skills;
- facilitating conflict resolution between students and teaching them conflict resolution techniques;
- working with external partners (e.g. psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and social workers ) to best serve and support students with mental health issues and challenges; and
- reporting any abusive situation to appropriate authorities, whether the student is experiencing physical, sexual, emotional, and/or verbal abuse (e.g. bullying and maltreatment).
- Using a variety of teaching techniques including modelling, observing, questioning, and reinforcing:
- Assisting students in expressing themselves by listening and responding with questions/comments that extend conversations; and
- improving students’ behaviour by explaining and demonstrating good practices to them.
- Coordinating activities and field trips that promote physical, mental, and social development.
- Preparing, administering, and correcting tests, quizzes, and other examination modes (e.g. oral presentations and group projects), as well as assigning and correcting homework:
- Completing all grading, creating progress reports, and conducting parent conferences to further discuss examination results, as well as learning and behavioural difficulties;
- keeping accurate, complete records of students’ individual progress (e.g. cumulative files and attendance accounting) to ensure that students are making adequate progress and that established goals are being met.
- Being actively involved in all aspects of the school program and displaying a willingness to contribute to a positive school culture by volunteering in extracurricular activities.
- Ensuring the school meets all operating criteria, including health and safety standards.
- Preparing and presenting courses in compliance with an approved curriculum.
- Reviewing and adapting/customizing the teaching curriculum, as needed.
- Preparing, administering/assigning, correcting, and grading examinations and homework.
- Tracking and reporting students’ progress and development.
- Communicating with parents, students, and other teachers to provide feedback on student work, suggest instructional approaches and strategies, as well as develop and update teaching curriculum.
The average Elementary School Teacher salary is $43,600 per year or $22 per hour. This is around 1.3 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $31,000 while most experienced workers make up to $61,000. These results are based on 262 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Extensive academic training and professional preparation.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly and confidently, both in writing and verbally, in order to accurately impart knowledge and give students detailed instructions;
- displaying an extensive knowledge of the language, as well as the ability to teach it to others;
- using tact, patience, and good judgment when communicating with students, parents, and staff to maintain effective and collaborative relationships;
- being a great listener, as well as being able to easily and efficiently identify students’ needs and difficulties (e.g. learning and behavioural difficulties); and
- being an effective team player.
- Strong sense of empathy and compassion:
- Demonstrating sensitivity to individual needs of students;
- displaying an inherent ability to make others feel cared about; and
- being able to work within a multicultural environment, showing consideration and respect to a diverse range of students and families of all backgrounds and abilities.
- Excellent classroom management and organizational skills:
- Strategically structuring and customizing teaching curriculum;
- prioritizing and planning work activities as to use time efficiently while handling a high volume, diverse workload; and
- multitasking; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Optimistic, enthusiastic, with a can-do attitude and a strong ability to motivate others.
- High levels of creativity, initiative, flexibility, and responsiveness, as well as strong leadership skills:
- Adapting well to changing demands;
- using creativity and imagination to develop new insights and to apply new solutions to problems; and
- being able to model healthy adult-child relationships and positive discipline.
- Strong technology skills and the ability to apply them as an instructional tool to support learning.
Aside from the skills listed above, Teachers also need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of current teaching, evaluation, and assessment practices; as well as an extensive knowledge and demonstrated ability to teach all subject areas at the elementary level, using effective strategies to support the direct instruction of literacy skills (e.g. guided reading, writing, and oral language). They must also understand and comply with all regulations related to teaching programs (e.g. school board policies and procedures, as well as provincial and national legislations).
In Canada, Elementary School Teachers must have completed a bachelor’s degree in Education, with a specialization in Primary/Junior and/or Intermediate Education, recognized by the Teaching Council. They must also be a member of a provincial or territorial teachers’ association or federation, having obtained a Provincial or Territorial Teaching Certificate. An Early Childhood Education Certification is a definite asset, as well as a First-Aid Certification and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification.
Most Teacher positions require a minimum of 0 to 3 years of teaching experience, working with 4 to 12-year old children. All Elementary School Teachers must have a clear criminal record and a medical certification of good health. Most schools will also conduct child welfare checks and vulnerable sector checks prior to hiring their Teachers.
Elementary School Teachers must also be able to work flexible schedules, as they will often be required to complete certain tasks outside of school hours (e.g. correcting and grading assignments and examinations, coordinating and attending parent conferences and field trips, and cleaning/decorating classroom), as well as to stand, bend, crouch, and kneel for extensive hours.