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Fourth-Grade Teacher Career Guide

How to Become a Fourth-Grade Teacher

From basic punctuation to multiple-digit division, fourth-graders learn a variety of concepts in the classroom. Fourth-grade teachers are fundamental to the success of their students, encouraging creativity, learning, and development in a non-judgmental setting.

If you thrive in a classroom environment and maintain a passion for educating young students, the career of a fourth-grade teacher is ideal for you. And with an ongoing national teacher shortage, there’s never been a better time to realize your calling as a fourth-grade teacher.

A teacher selects a student with their hand raised high.

What Does a Fourth-Grade Teacher Do?

Fourth-grade teachers fulfill a variety of important responsibilities. These can include basic lesson creation, in-classroom teaching, student supervision, and correspondence with parents regarding the success of their students.

The exact responsibilities of a fourth-grade teacher can include:

  • Planning lessons that build on one another, built with concepts that fourth-grade students can understand and retain
  • Communicating with parents regarding student classroom performance, socialization, and interactions with peers
  • Supervising students in a variety of classroom, indoor, outdoor, and field trip settings
  • Grading student work to determine their proficiencies and deficits, and to identify which concepts might need to be retaught
  • Developing curriculums that foster learning in individual subjects, with dynamic elements that encourage student participation
  • Addressing student questions in the classroom
  • Creating and enforcing rules that protect the rights of all students, and foster a learning environment where students can learn and grow without judgment
  • Collaborating with other school teachers to coordinate student schedules and curriculums whenever necessary
  • Researching new teaching methods that can make your fourth-grade curriculums even more effective

These responsibilities define the daily tasks that a fourth-grade teacher faces. From lesson planning to honing your craft as a teacher, you’ll stay busy inside and outside of the classroom as a fourth-grade teacher.

What Is Taught in Fourth Grade?

Fourth-grade is an important time in a student’s life where they are moving into more advanced learning. Teachers need to be ready to help students as they are growing older and working to grasp more difficult concepts in the classroom. Skills that fourth-graders learn include:

Reading 

  • Advancing vocabulary
  • Prefixes
  • Suffixes
  • Reading myths and legends
  • Learning from folktales and fables
  • Non-fiction materials including encyclopedias, internet sites, and other research materials

Writing 

  • Connecting reading with writing
  • Writing their own folktales and fables
  • Focus on punctuation to create sentences
  • Quotation marks and dialogue in stories
  • Developing personal voice and writing style
  • Utilize research tools to write a coherent report

Social Studies

  • Learning extensively about their home state
  • Industry and settlement of their state
  • Geographic features of their state
  • History and government of their state
  • Government at a local and state level
  • Different job functions of a community

Math 

  • Factors and multiples of numbers
  • Convert and calculate units of measure
  • Fractions
  • Add and subtract fractions
  • Recognize equivalent and non-equivalent fractions
  • Understand lines and angles
  • Analyze, collect, organize, and present data

Science 

  • Organisms
  • Arrangement of objects by properties
  • Measuring events
  • Motion of objects
  • Electricity and circuits
  • Fossils
  • Meteorology
  • Inherited traits

What Education Does a Fourth-Grade Teacher Need?

Before assuming a rewarding career as a fourth-grade teacher, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in elementary education from an accredited institution will be key in preparing you for teacher licensure and a career in the classroom. You will learn concepts like classroom management, curriculum creation, technology use, and other skills from this advanced educational program, all of which immediately benefit your future teaching career.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching field or you’re a teacher for older students, a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus on elementary education can help you get the credentials you need to be licensed to teach in an elementary school classroom. Each state has its own requirements for licensure, so it’s smart to be sure you know the specific licensure requirements in your state.

Best Degrees for Fourth-Grade Teachers

Elementary Education – B.A.

An online teacher certification program for aspiring elementary...

An online teacher certification program for...

An online teacher certification program for aspiring elementary teachers.

Leads to teacher licensure. Specific grade levels will vary depending on teaching certification in your state.

  • Time: 60% of grads earned this degree within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,770 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this program often include:

  • Aspiring elementary school teachers who currently lack a teaching license
  • Substitute teachers
  • Career-changers
  • School paraprofessionals
  • Others who feel the call to teach

This elementary education degree program includes courses in the foundations of teacher education, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core teacher education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and pedagogy. It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching. This online teaching degree program helps you to be eligible for teaching certification in any of the 50 states.

Teaching, Elementary Education – M.A.

An online master's of arts in education degree and teacher...

An online master's of arts in education degree...

An online master's of arts in education degree and teacher certification program for aspiring elementary school teachers who already have a bachelor's degree in a non-teaching field.

Leads to a teaching license. Specific grade levels will vary depending on teaching certification in your state.

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,935 per 6-month term.

Candidates for this master's of arts in education degree program often include:

  • Aspiring elementary teachers who currently hold a bachelor's degree but lack a teaching license
  • Substitute teachers
  • Career-changers
  • School paraprofessionals
  • Others who feel the call to teach

This online teacher's degree includes courses in the foundations of teaching, mathematics content, instructional planning and presentation, elementary education methods, and effective teaching practices. It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching.


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What Skills Does a Fourth-Grade Teacher Need?

Fourth-grade teachers operate with a defined skill set, one that helps them complete a full range of tasks each day. In particular, fourth-grade teachers regularly put to use skills that make it easier for them to communicate with students and parents, teaching in-class lessons, address any student conflicts, and prepare lesson plans for future use.

The exact skills a fourth-grade teacher needs can often include:

  • Classroom management: The ability to create and protect a classroom environment, so that all students can learn and express creativity in a judgment-free setting
  • Problem-solving: The ability to pair the unique problems you will face with unique solutions
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to correspond on an individual level with both parents and students
  • Instruction: The ability to teach a variety of concepts to fourth-grade students, while answering their questions and ensuring that the subject matter can be recalled
  • Research: The ability to perform education-based research on an ongoing basis, searching for new teaching methods that will further improve the student experience
  • Time management: The ability to balance time requirements for lesson planning, grading student assignments, teaching the class, and providing students with unstructured time to learn, collaborate, and grow
  • Technological proficiency: The ability to sufficiently use all technology in the classroom, including any computers and online educational tools

These and other skills can form the basis for a successful fourth-grade teacher.

Whether they’re teaching in a classroom or preparing lesson plans during the summer months, fourth-grade teachers learn to develop and use this variety of skills regularly.

How Much Does a Fourth-Grade Teacher Make?

$43,224

The exact income of a fourth-grade teacher can depend on a wide variety of factors. These can include their years of experience, employer, employer location, tenure status, and available salary funding from local governments. In general, the salary of a fourth-grade teacher can average $43,224, with a range of roughly $29,000 to $80,000 earned each year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

4%

Fourth-grade teachers are expected to enjoy a favorable job outlook in the years to come. The total number of middle school educators is expected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029. This projected increase is closely related to the expected rise in total student volumes, likely requiring new fourth-grade teachers to provide for their education.

The exact number of created fourth-grade teacher positions in the future will largely depend on local governments. If governments reduce education-based spending, the total number of fourth-grade teachers could decline. On the other hand, increased spending on the local education budget could mean a rise in total fourth-grade teaching positions.

What Certifications Does a Fourth-Grade Teacher Need?

State Specific

In addition to any required schooling, fourth-grade teachers are also required to obtain and hold state-specific teaching licenses. The individual requirements for these licenses will vary according to your region, and can include the passage of teaching exams, transcript submissions, and completion of a background check.

Interested in Becoming a Fourth-Grade Teacher?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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