Career advice: How to become a kindergarten teacher

As far as teaching careers go, the idea of being a kindergarten teacher seems very appealing. The students are young, not yet subject to the social pressures of middle and high school, and eager to learn about the world.

Maybe you see yourself singing songs and helping kids take those tentative first steps on their educational road. But while the job does include those things, the idealized vision of singing about ABCs isn’t the whole picture. Kindergarten teachers are educators first and foremost, and have the daunting task of making sure that many students’ first formal classroom helps set them up for a good education later on.


What does a kindergarten teacher do?


Because of the basic nature of what early elementary school educators teach, there can be misconceptions about how “easy” it is to be a kindergarten teacher. Sure, they typically don’t teach advanced calculus, but they do need to be able to teach in a variety of subject areas, while balancing young students’ complex needs for social and interpersonal development. A kindergarten teacher’s duties may include:


  • Teaching lessons and basic academic skills across different disciplines (reading, writing, math, science, etc.)
  • Managing classroom behavior
  • Planning lessons and curriculum
  • Developing educational play activities


Kindergarten teachers can be found in any elementary-level school, including public schools, private schools, or magnet schools. The school week is typically a straightforward number of daytime hours, but the job may also require additional time spent in the mornings, evenings, and off-hours to prepare for school, participate in professional development, or oversee extracurricular activities/school programs. Depending on how the school is structured, kindergarten teachers may have one main class per year, or two (morning and afternoon sessions).



By: Kate Lopaze, The Job Network