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Sixth-Grade Teacher Career

How to Become a Sixth-Grade Teacher

Fulfilling an important role for 11 and 12-year-olds, sixth-grade teachers are passionate about local education. As sixth-grade students depart elementary school for middle school — where they will learn more advanced concepts — sixth-grade teachers help to teach knowledge in safe settings.

Sixth-grade teachers fulfill fundamental roles in the lives of their students. Teachers help students realize and pursue dreams, fostering creativity and a love for learning in their pupils from a young age. A national teacher shortage is making the role of a sixth-grade teacher even more important across the country.

Anyone with a passion for education and patience with children will find a rewarding career as a sixth-grade teacher. If you’re someone who remains optimistic, and wants to serve at the forefront of student education as it evolves, the position of a sixth-grade teacher might be right for you.

High school teacher in math class at white board

What Does a Sixth-Grade Teacher Do?

On a daily basis, a sixth-grade teacher performs a variety of job tasks. From maintaining a clean, safe student learning environment to preparing lessons that stimulate student learning, sixth-grade teachers remain busy on the job.

The responsibilities of a sixth-grade teacher can sometimes include:

  • Creating lessons plans that teach students basic concepts in math, science, and other core fields
  • Teaching lessons plans to students, and gauging how well they understand the content
  • Grading student homework, worksheets, exams, and any other assignments that indicate how well they are learning subject matter
  • Enforcing classroom guidelines to maintain a secure, non-judgmental learning environment for all students
  • Communicating with parents regarding their students’ in-class performance;
  • Supervising student activity inside and outside of the classroom
  • Researching teaching methods that can improve the way that students learn

These and other responsibilities help sixth-grade teachers achieve success each day. In general the role of a teacher hinges on the educator’s ability to connect with students, correctly teach curriculums, and assist in students’ formation as individuals.

What Is Taught in Sixth Grade?

Sixth-grade students may be in their last year of elementary school, so it’s important for teachers to be ready to help them get the skills they need to move forward into middle school or junior high. There are many key concepts taught in the sixth grade that will be key building blocks for students down the road. Some of these key subjects include:


  • Required reading where students may choose books to read on their own from booklists
  • Reading fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biographies, and plays
  • Learn reading strategies for analyzing plots, characters, themes, and more
  • Greek and Latin root understanding
  • Identifying parts of speech


  • Longer research papers
  • Expository essays
  • Persuasive essays
  • Autobiographies
  • Letters


  • Negative and rational numbers
  • Ratios, proportions, and percents
  • Solving equations with variables
  • Order of operations 
  • Mean, median, and range
  • Finding area, volume, and surface area of shapes


  • Classification of living things
  • Structure of the human body and cells
  • Sexual and asexual reproduction
  • Genetics
  • Sound, light, and heat
  • Elements and compounds
  • Electricity and uses
  • Simple machines and inventions
  • Climate and weather
  • Geology and oceans

Social Studies

  • Ancient civilizations such as Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and the Middle Ages
  • U.S. government and the Constitution
  • Presidential election process
  • Types of government
  • Study of cultures or regions

What Education Does a Sixth-Grade Teacher Need?

Before aspiring sixth-grade teachers can fulfill rewarding elementary school positions, they must obtain a bachelor’s degree in education. In order to be prepared to teach the 6th grade, you will need a degree in elementary education in most states. In other states, sixth-grade is considered middle school, and you’ll need a different license. Teachers in every state are required to have a bachelor’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from an accredited university will prepare you for the needed credentials and licensure of becoming a teacher. 

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching field, a Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education degree could be the perfect fit for you. This degree will allow you to further your education while getting you the needed courses to be prepared for a teaching license. This is a great option for those who are looking to change careers and become a teacher, or for those who currently teach older students and want to extend their license to teaching elementary aged students.

Best Degrees for Sixth-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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Elementary teacher in front of classroom

What Skills Does a Sixth-Grade Teacher Need?

After obtaining any required degrees, sixth-grade teachers put learned skills to use on a daily basis. These skills allow teachers to craft lessons, interact with parents, and foster a safe learning environment where every student feels heard and appreciated.

The exact skills a sixth-grade teacher needs can include:

  • Lesson planning: The ability to create and integrate classroom lessons that can be taught within the time limits allotted for each subject
  • Clear instruction: The ability to teach students using clear concepts that can be understood and implemented
  • Technological proficiency: The ability to understand and use technological resources — including a computer, projector, and any online resources — that assist with in-class or remote learning
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to correspond effectively with both students and their parents or guardians
  • Classroom maintenance: The ability to manage the classroom environment to provide students with safe spaces for creative learning
  • Organization: The ability to keep all supplies, lesson plans, schedules, and student possessions orderly and ready for future use
  • Problem-solving: The ability to pair individual problems with unique solutions, which prioritize student well-being and preserve the integrity of the classroom

These and other skills help sixth-grade teachers offer a high level of education for all students.

How Much Does a Sixth-Grade Teacher Make?


The exact income of a sixth-grade teacher can vary, based on a number of changing factors. These factors can include a sixth-grade teacher’s job experience, job performance, employer, employer’s place of business, and tenure status. In general, the salary of a sixth-grade teacher can average $49,062, with a range of roughly $35,000 to $73,000 per year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The role of a sixth-grade teacher is expected to maintain a favorable outlook in the coming years. Employment rates for elementary school teachers are expected to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029, at a rate that’s roughly equivalent to employment growth across all industries. Exact employment growth rates will vary according to individual location trends. The anticipated growth in total sixth-grade teacher positions is closely tied to an expected rise in student numbers. As the total number of students potentially rises, there will be an increased need for educated sixth-grade teachers to provide an appropriate education.

What Certifications Does a Sixth-Grade Teacher Need?


In order to become a teacher, you will need to meet state state-specific teaching certification requirements. Though exact conditions for state licensure vary, they can include stipulations like:

-Satisfaction of a qualifying bachelor’s program

-Submission of educational transcripts

-Completion of a background check

-The passing of any required entrance exams, state or school-specific tests, and confirmation of basic teaching skills

Obtaining certification allows you to be qualified and credentialed for elementary teaching jobs in your specific state. Certifications may transfer to other states, depending on the board of education requirements. 


Interested in Becoming a Sixth-Grade Teacher?

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

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