Step by step guide to becoming a teacher

Many teachers call their work a labor of love. Those who choose to enter the teaching profession are looking forward to a long career of educating students and possibly moving up into administrative positions, where they can have a sizable impact on curriculum development and school system planning. Once the degree is in hand and a teacher has earned licensure or certification, what can she or he expect from the career? This guide focuses on possible career and degree paths, expected salaries, job outlook in the profession and much more.

What does a teacher do?

Teachers and professors have a wide variety of responsibilities, including developing classroom curricula, teaching courses, proctoring exams and helping guide students toward academic success. Although all teachers have the same basic work functions, their jobs may vary significantly depending on their classroom placement and specialty.

Teachers can choose between several classroom settings, and the students’ age helps determine the direction of their instruction. The most common teaching levels are celementary, middle school, high school, early education, special education and post-secondary education. Some teachers might also choose to work with students in online courses.

What kind of skills are required?

  1. Planning: In this video, High School English Teacher Nicole Rubinetti plans a lesson on writing personal statements for college. English Department Head Meg Murray helps Ms. Rubinetti come up with a specific and measurable objective and then they plan exactly how she will support her students to meet that objective.
  2. Classroom Management: Strong classroom management is the foundation of every smooth-running classroom. Yet it can be tricky for new teachers to master. Watch beginning teacher Lilia Vreeland develop her classroom management skills with the help of educational consultant Jackie Ancess. Ms. Ancess lays out seven classroom management tips that will be helpful for all new teachers. 
  3. Differentiation: Now that you’ve got a handle on planning and classroom management, it’s time to tackle differentiation. In this video, watch High School Chemistry Teacher Laura Gurick plan and teach a lesson to meet her students’ diverse needs. 
  4. MentoringTeaching can be incredibly challenging. In this video, we see the difference that mentoring can make. Second-year teacher Asia Franks opens up about the struggles of being a beginning teacher and her involvement in a mentoring program that supports new teachers. It’s inspiring to see Ms. Franks receive both actionable suggestions and emotional support from her mentor. 
  5. Technology: There are so many ways to incorporate technology into lessons that it can seem overwhelming. Watch a first-year teacher receive suggestions from technology coach Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. In addition to recommending ways technology can increase student engagement, Ms. Nussbaum-Beach shares the importance of educators building a virtual personal learning network (PLN). 
  6. Parent-Teacher Conferences: Interacting with parents takes a whole different skill set than teaching. Learn how to build effective communication skills by watching a beginning teacher receive suggestions from a parent relationship coach. 
  7. The Formal Observation: Observations can be nerve wracking, especially as a beginning teacher. Calm your nerves by watching this video and learning tips for each step of the observation process: pre-observation, observation, and post-observation. 
  8. ADHD in the ClassroomIn this video, Special Education teacher James McKinstry learns tips for helping students with ADHD. Though these tips are specifically for students with ADHD, they can help all students stay focused.

The steps to becoming a teacher

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Engage in student teaching
  3. Get certified or licensed
  4. Continue with higher education