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Good teachers are in high demand in the U.S. By 2020, we'll need 440,000 more to keep up with the growing brood of kids ages 5-18. This is great news if you're passionate about working with youngsters to hone their knowledge and help them grow. The better news? The Department of Education (DOE) has a few suggestions about in-demand teachers for the future. Take a look at these specialties as you carve out a career plan.
Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition. One in five kids speaks a language besides English at home. This means that roughly 20 percent of every public school classroom may have trouble following the lesson. Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) reaches beyond "Hello," "Goodbye," and "Where is the library?" and helps students grasp the fundamentals early on. If you love all things grammatical, give this specialty a closer look.
Mathematics. 2+2 isn't what it used to be. Over 80 percent of eighth graders struggle with math in Chicago alone. Sure, the kids might have a case of boredom, but no one will argue that qualified teachers are needed to bring significant change. If you're worried about future generations' ability to make change or solve for x, now is the time to get a degree in mathematics education. Be the x factor.
Science. What is the boiling temperature of water? Why shouldn't you mix ammonia and bleach? Unfortunately, most kids don't know the answer to these questions. Our school systems are on the losing side of worldwide science education, an unfortunate truth in a world that relies on science to uncover medical and technical advances. If you love learning about the building blocks of biology or the reaction of a chemical compound, why not pass your interest on to a younger crowd? Science departments are in dire need of a well-trained staff.
Special Education. Over 600,000 children required special needs education in 2010. Special education includes a number of learning challenges, from developmental issues like autism to physical challenges such as orthopedic impairments. Special education students need more than a licensed teacher—they need an advocate who can empathize and understand how they learn. If you value every education, consider helping those who need it most.
Social science. Social sciences teachers are fortunate to cover a broad range of topics, from history to politics to economics. All sub-topics have one thing in common: communication. Why does the UN exist? How has Civil Rights changed the country? What is the Federal Reserve Bank? Teaching social science is about helping your students understand how communication impacts communities and nations on a grander scale. If you are attracted to the big picture, consider social science as a specialty.
Western Governors University is a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers bachelor's and master's online degree programs in Nursing. Find out more about WGU's Teachers College
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