If you have a passion for mathematics and shaping young minds, then becoming a math teacher seems like the most obvious career path for you. However, what do you need to become a math teacher? And, what do math teachers actually do?
Well, there is quite a bit that you need to understand about this position as well as how to go about attaining it. To ensure that you have all the information that you need, consider the material below:
The Role of a Math Teacher
First things first, what does a math teacher actually do – apart from teaching math, of course.
As a math teacher, you would most likely be teaching middle or high school classes. This is because in elementary school, math is taught by the same teacher that teaches all other subjects. Therefore, there is no need for a teacher with a single specification.
Here are some of the requirements of a math teacher:
- Plan lesson plans
- Alter lesson plans according to class size
- Explain mathematical concepts to students of all aptitudes
- Deliver instructions
- Evaluate student work
- Assess student progress
- Communicate with student’s parents
Along with these, math teachers should also have or acquire the following skills to be truly effective:
- Good oral and verbal communication skills
- Good listening skills
- Ability to get creative with course work
- Reduce the risk of unruly behaviors in the classroom
It is important to keep in mind that as you teach higher and higher grades, that the course work becomes more and more difficult. Therefore, many students may begin to struggle with the content. Math teachers need to be able to convey topics and subject matter to students of varying capabilities and academic backgrounds.
You should also be aware that most math teachers will have to take on other roles within the school. For instance, you may have to supervise homeroom and study hall. You may have to head up math clubs or ones that are close to your discipline.
If some of your students are struggling with work, you may be expected to tutor them after school. It is also possible that you will have to lead or oversee other extracurricular activities.
How Much Can a Math Teacher Earn?
Now, what is the average salary for a math teacher? Well, your exact earning potential can vary quite a bit. This is because it can be impacted by a number of factors. This includes the state and school district that you are working in as well as if you are teaching in a public or private school.
In some instances, the education level that you are teaching may also determine how much you make. Your level of experience and how long you have been working in a particular school may be a factor as well.
On average, you can expect to make around $47,705 each year. Teachers in the lower 10 percentile have reported earning as little as $36,000 while teachers in the upper 10 percentile can make as much as $76,000 a year.
Job Prospects for a Math Teacher
If you are planning on becoming a math teacher, it is important to know what your job outlook will be for this position. Fortunately, it appears that employment will grow around 4 percent up until 2028. Therefore, the outlook is good.
Furthermore, there is evidence that many school districts do not have the number of math teachers required and are struggling to hire more. Therefore, once you have passed through all the stages, you may find it a lot easier to find a job than you initially anticipated.
A Guide to Becoming a Math Teacher
Here is a breakdown of what you will need to do to become a math teacher:
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Before you can begin the process of becoming a math teacher, you will need to earn a Bachelor’s degree. There are several types of degrees that you can earn for this career path. Some people choose to complete an undergraduate degree in mathematics and then pursue a teaching program.
Others prefer to earn an education degree with a focus on math. If you choose this path, then the education degree must match the grade level that you would like to teach. Therefore, you will need to decide rather early on whether you want to teach primary or high school.
Step 2: Complete a Student Internship Teaching Program
In some cases, you may need to go through this program in order to complete your undergraduate degree in education. Otherwise, you can enroll in this program once you are finished with your degree. The program can take eight to twelve weeks to complete.
The first portion of the program will require to observe a teacher in a classroom. Once this period is up, it will be your turn to take over. It should be noted that you will be observed by another teacher during this time.
Step 3: Pass the Teacher’s Test
You will need to pass a teacher’s test in order to prove that you can teach at the level that you hope to. The exact test can vary from one state to another. In most instances, though, you will be tested on basic skills and will have to undergo an exam for math knowledge competency.
Step 4: Acquire a Teacher’s Certificate
Once you have passed your teacher’s test, you can then apply for a teacher’s certificate. This acts as a license for you to work in your chosen state to teach mathematics. Once you have acquired this, you can begin to apply for jobs. If you wish to move to another state, you may need to request for a transfer. It is important to know that these can differ from one state to another.
Interestingly enough, private schools don’t always require teachers to be certified. Therefore, if you are planning to work in such a sector, it is a good idea to do some research. You should also be aware that the requirements can vary from one school to another.
Step 5: Earn a Master’s Degree
Now, the above steps are more than enough for you to gain a teaching position as a middle school math teacher. If you wish to teach high school, though, you may need to complete a Master’s degree as well. Now, this isn’t always a necessity, but some states will require this of you.
If this is a step that you need to take, however, you will only have to do this once you have started your teaching job. Therefore, you can complete your Master’s degree while working full or half time as a math teacher.
In case your goal is to be a math teacher in the long term, then there is another step that is recommended. It is known as a national certification and helps to prove your knowledge and proficiency in the area of mathematics. Having this level of certification can have a number of advantages. In some cases, it may also result in a higher salary.
This isn’t a certification that you can receive immediately, though. First, you have to work for three years as an educator. When applying for the certification, you must also have a valid teaching license.
Step 6: Renew Your Teacher’s License
Just because you have your teacher’s license doesn’t mean that your job is done. If you wish to continue with your profession, then you have to renew your teacher’s license every five years. To be eligible for renewal, you have to continue to grow and evolve as a teacher.
There are a few different ways that teachers can manage this. Some will take classes that add up to credits that will go towards their license renewal. Working towards a Master’s degree will also count towards your renewal.
Of course, policies are constantly evolving and the exact requirements do vary from one state to another. Thus, teachers will need to contact the governing bodies in their own state to find out the exact protocol.
This is all that you need to learn about becoming a match teacher. It is clear that there is a lot of effort and several steps involved in the process. However, if you are truly passionate about this career path, each stage will be preparing your for your job. Furthermore, it will all be worth it when you realize just how fulfilling and useful your profession can be.