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A career teaching math to middle school or high school students can be extremely fulfilling. People with a strong background in math are increasingly in demand in today’s workforce, and if you have the knowledge and teaching skills to make math relevant to young minds, there’s no telling how many future scientists, statisticians, economists, or engineers you might inspire.
One other thing to consider is that your own math knowledge and expertise will likely open doors to a broad range of career opportunities beyond the classroom, should you ever decide to take your credentials in a different professional direction.
If your passion for math has you crunching the numbers on a career change that might lead you to a greater sense of purpose, finding an industry-relevant M.A. in Teaching Math can be your path to make that change.
From elementary school through high school and beyond, math is a critically important subject because it is used in so many other subjects—as well as in real life. Math also teaches students how to think logically and solve problems.
Math is crucial—and, for many students, very hard—to learn. It takes a special kind of person to teach math. A great math teacher is someone who not only has advanced knowledge in mathematics but also specialized training and skills in areas like instructional planning and presentation.
In most states, it’s possible to become a math teacher as long as you have a bachelor’s degree and a valid teaching license. For aspiring math teachers who already have a bachelor’s degree—especially in a math-intensive STEM field—but no teaching degree or license, a master’s degree in teaching math can prepare and certify them to teach math at the middle school or high school level. With an MAT Mathematics degree, you can acquire versatile credentials to prepare yourself for a broad range of careers within the field of math education.
Mastering math can be beneficial to almost any career, but if you become a math teacher, you can expect a steady market for your knowledge, skills, and experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for middle and high school teachers, including math teachers, will grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024. As older teachers reach retirement age and others leave to pursue careers outside the classroom, new opportunities will be created for those ready to follow in their footsteps, engaging young minds and helping them understand concepts in math that will serve them well throughout their future lives and careers. Math teachers are expected to have better job prospects than other types of teachers because math is a subject for which many schools report difficulty finding qualified instructors.
If you have a passion for math and the creativity, patience, and enthusiasm to inspire young minds, a career as a math teacher can be very rewarding.
Middle school and high school math teachers face the daily challenge of preparing an engaging lesson plan to help students understand concepts that help them become confident problem solvers. The best math teachers aren’t just logical and analytical—if you excel at creative thinking as well, you’ll likely come up with countless ways to present complex mathematical principles in real-world applications. When your students can relate, engage, and respond to your lessons, they’ll gain the confidence to truly understand math. Great math teachers find ways to diminish their students’ “math anxiety,” and once you do, you’ll have a classroom filled with enthusiastic learners.
Some of these qualities might be inherent to your personality, but others can be learned and polished through a current, cutting-edge degree program focused on preparing successful math teachers for rewarding careers.
Become a middle school or high school math teacher, and your schedule will typically include time before and after classes to meet with parents, students, and other teachers. You will probably also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons.
If the idea of becoming a math teacher appeals to you but you don’t quite know how to get started, the following organizations can provide support and guidance to help you achieve your goals.
There’s always a demand for math teachers with an up-to-date education and credentials. Check out some of the current positions available for dedicated educators in middle schools and high schools across the country.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200 in May 2015, while middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $55,860. Math teachers in rural or urban areas often command higher salaries, as do those who have bumped up their credentials by earning a master’s degree in teaching math.
Not everyone has what it takes to become a math teacher. To be a difference-maker in today’s middle school and high school classrooms, you’ll need to be able to break down complicated concepts into ones that are easier for your students to grasp. This might entail engaging your students with real-life scenarios that can help them wrap their heads around the processes involved in solving math problems. Find creative ways to make it interesting, relevant, and fun, and they’ll be eager to learn.
Curriculums for aspiring math teachers have come a long way, and the better ones focus on far more than teaching kids the X’s and Y’s of algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and basic math. Look for an advanced program from an NCATE-accredited institution, such as a Master of Arts in Teaching Math program that leads to teacher licensure.
A modern, innovative curriculum will empower you to complete much of your coursework online, so you’ll be able to fit your studies into your current schedule without disrupting your personal and professional responsibilities. You’ll also be required to complete a demonstration teaching component, evaluated by a host teacher teacher and monitored by a clinical supervisor, providing you with the opportunity to demonstrate your math teaching skills in a live classroom setting.
Crunch the numbers on the rewards of becoming a math teacher, and you just might come up with your own formula for career satisfaction!
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