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Are you a person who’s always been good at math? Are you at a crossroads in your career and considering making a change? If working with numbers comes naturally and you already have a bachelor’s degree, it might be time to consider a career as a math teacher!
Math teachers play a critical role in the lives of their students, helping them to understand basic math like addition and multiplication at the elementary school level and more complex subjects like geometry and calculus in high school. A career teaching math can be extremely rewarding. By applying advanced instructional planning and presentation techniques, you can have a profound effect by nurturing healthy and informed perceptions of mathematics in your classroom.
If you love mathematics and the many ways its principles and practices get applied to everyday life, think about how fulfilling it would be to share your knowledge and passion with a roomful of eager young minds. Run the numbers on becoming a math teacher. You might just discover a career you’ll love.
Your math background provides a solid foundation for a successful teaching career, but it also puts you in position to take your knowledge and skills in a variety of directions beyond teaching math. Should you ever choose to do so, you might consider one of the following careers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, math teachers are expected to have better job prospects than other types of teachers, because math is a subject for which many schools report having difficulty in finding qualified instructors.
The job outlook for teachers varies by region of employment and the level of education that they teach. Generally speaking, employment of middle school and high school teachers, including math teachers, is projected to grow 6% between 2014 to 2024, which is near the average for all occupations.
One of the challenges faced by today’s math teachers is how to help their students become confident problem solvers by creating an engaging, collaborative learning environment. As a successful math teacher, you’ll constantly be thinking of ways to present complex mathematical principles in real-world situations to which your students can relate, engage, and respond. Find ways to diminish your students’ “math anxiety” and you’ll build their confidence and help them experience success.
Your workday will typically include time before and after school to meet with parents, students, and other teachers, so good communication skills are essential. You may also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons. Many career-changers look forward to a teacher’s schedule, which often allows them to take their summers off from work.
If you’re thinking about becoming a math teacher, you have an exciting, rewarding adventure ahead of you and numerous professional organizations to support you.
With the right education and credentials from a top-notch teacher’s college, you can make an exciting career change and become a math teacher. Check out some of the current opportunities for high school and middle school math teachers.
The BLS reports the median annual wage for middle school teachers was $55,860 in May 2015. High school teachers earned slightly more: $57,200. However, “for math teachers in the U.S., these statistics may not tell the whole story. A July 2014 report released by the Department of Education found that it may not be the alma mater that results in math teachers earning top dollar—it may just be their area of study.”
As documented on MathTeacherEDU.org, the U.S. Department of Education found that “graduates of science, technology, engineering, or math were paid significantly better than graduates in other fields: or nearly $65,000 a year compared to just $49,500 for graduates with degrees in other fields. These graduates were also the most in demand, as just 16 percent of graduates in 2012 earned math, science, engineering, and technology degrees.”
“These findings have transferred over to the teaching profession, as math and science teachers continue to be in demand in middle and secondary schools. As a result, a number of school districts have begun to question whether science and math teachers require higher salaries to attract and keep them in the profession.”
Become a middle school or high school math teacher, and you’ll be teaching kids important skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives. From balancing checkbooks and paying bills to measuring recipe ingredients and calculating tips in restaurants, the skills we use every day can be traced back to how well we were taught mathematics in our formative years.
If you already have your bachelor’s degree, there’s a direct route you can take to become a math teacher. A post baccalaureate teacher preparation program can prepare you to be licensed to teach math in grades 5-9 or high school. Best of all, there are excellent programs available that can be completed online (with the exception of a student teaching component, which will be coordinated with your studies and convenient to where you live). Curriculums in top teaching programs will require you to observe and participate in a wide range of in-classroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective math teacher.
To ensure a quality education that will be recognized when you're ready to begin your career teaching math, make sure you enroll in a superior program that has received NCATE accreditation and leads to teacher licensure.
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