Black male elementary school teacher & Hispanic girl in front of diverse class

Top 5 Secrets to Know About Teaching Elementary School

Thinking of being an elementary school teacher? Here are five secrets about teaching at this level to help you figure out if the job is right for you.

I’ve spent a great deal of time around kids in a classroom setting. Aside from being a kid in a classroom, both my parents are teachers. This has given me the chance to experience school from both sides, from volunteering at recess in middle school to my first big classroom experience as a teacher’s aide for a kindergarten summer school class. Currently, I help with directed teaching as a class, so I’ve picked up a few things about being in the classroom. If you’re looking to major in Education, especially if you’re hoping to teach younger kids, these tips may be beneficial in providing a perspective to life in the classroom.

1. You need a backbone

Little kids are the most brutally honest characters you’ll ever meet. They’ll break you down unless you can fend for yourself. Kids say exactly what they see, which is a double-edged sword. It’s not that they’re bold or outgoing; they’re just honest. Keep this in mind if your students tend to be outspoken. It’s normal and natural, but it can become an issue when they start verbally attacking other students. You have to be able to protect yourself and other students. It’s important to remind kids of The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. While you may have to take an insult now and again, it's also your job to make them realize what they say to others might be hurtful.

Related: 6 Tips for Surviving Your First Year as a Teacher

2. There’s never enough sleep

School starts early in the morning, and students don’t get enough sleep as is. But it can be even more challenging to get enough sleep if you’re behind the teacher’s desk. When I was helping with summer school, I came in so tired one day I napped on the bathroom floor. I was just an aide, but imagine if the teacher was falling asleep in the middle of a lesson! Consider your sleep habits and whether you’ll be able to manage them better as a teacher. You may need to learn to adapt to earlier bedtimes or function simply on fewer hours. 

3. Words have power

Be careful with anything you say, because kids pick things up quickly. I’m sure we all remember something an adult said that made our eyes well up with the impact it had on us. Use your words to encourage and build up your students rather than break them down. For example, instead of telling a student they’re being mean, explain why their actions are hurtful to others. It puts a greater emphasis on the power the student’s actions have and draws attention to his or her behavior without making them feel like they’re a bad kid. It can be difficult to always think about what you’re going to say, but it’s necessary—you’re a strong influence on them.

Related: What is Being a Teacher Really Like?

4. Patience is key

Young children are still learning how to function and fit in. They’re still developing. It’s important to remember it may take them varying times to figure things out, and you have to remind them that it’s okay. Don’t punish kids just because they can be irritating. An annoying kid is not a bad kid, and I’ve seen even the most experienced teachers forget that. When in doubt, take a deep breath and try to move past the frustration to get to the root of the problem with the student at hand. 

5. It’s worth it

I had one student who would always write his name backward, so every day I would practice with him. Now he’s in the second grade, and every time I see him, he shows me a big smile and his name written correctly. That was just one thing I did in a month; imagine all the challenges teachers help students overcome in a whole school year. No matter how hard it seems, this job will be fulfilling and worth it in the end when you leave a major positive impact on your students. 

Related: What It Means to Be a Teacher

Of course, teaching isn’t for everyone. Some people aren’t willing to sacrifice sleep, while others lack patience. Being a teacher means remaining gently firm and minding what you say at all times. Take time to volunteer with kids inside and outside a classroom setting to be sure it’s something you’re willing to do. We need good teachers in the system so future generations can be made of people with the brightest ideas and the most brilliant minds for society to thrive. It’s so important to reach out and teach kids everything they need to know. Remember all this as you work to be one of those great teachers.

Find your perfect education program by perusing our featured teaching colleges lists to learn about universities across the country! 

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Arria McGinty

I’m a high school junior at a small international school in Okinawa, Japan. I’m still an American citizen, but I have lived overseas for the last nine years. I’m planning on going to college in Georgia to pursue a career in education. (Well, music, counseling, and guidance in schools or clinics. I haven’t quite decided yet!) It’s my greatest aspiration that everyone be treated fairly, equally, and humanely, so my writing usually reflects that. I’m so excited to write and learn, then write some more! 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

Jada Bohanon

Jada Bohanon

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships for the colleges I applied to. It was very hard for me to find scholarships in the beginning that I was qualified for. My teachers recommended this website to find some, and not only did I find some scholarships but I also got to look into some schools I hadn’t heard of before. I was very happy to have discovered this website, especially with the coronavirus spreading all over as I can’t really go visit many colleges.

Lexie Knutson

Lexie Knutson

High School Class of 2021

This whole website has helped me overcome the attitude I had before. I was scared to even approach the thought of college because it was so much. I knew it wasn’t just a few easy steps, and I panicked mostly, instead of actually trying. Without realizing it, CollegeXpress did exactly what I usually do when I panic, which is take it one step at a time. With college I forget that because it’s more than just a small to-do list, but this website was really helpful and overall amazing. So thank you!

Keaun Brown

Keaun Brown

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2020

As I transition to furthering my education, I can say with certainty that it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous organizations such as CollegeXpress. Those who initially founded CX had no idea their platform would give a plethora of information to a first-generation homeless kid native to the ghettos of over half a dozen states. Everyone at CX and Carnegie Dartlet gave me a chance at a future when the statistics said I had none. And for that, I thank them.

Joycelyn

Joycelyn

High School Class of 2023

I’m currently a college freshman attending Towson University. My major is Information Technology, and I plan to minor in Electronic Media & Film to achieve my goal of becoming a production engineer. Upon graduating high school earlier this year, I was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from CollegeXpress, which greatly assisted in paying my tuition. Truthfully, this financial reward was the difference in affording my room and board and tuition, along with other expenses for school. My family and I haven’t stopped celebrating my award since it was bestowed on me. I will never forget this opportunity for allowing me to get my foot into my university financially.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Saint John's University

Collegeville, MN

Arcadia University

Glenside, PA

SUNY Maritime College

Throggs Neck, NY