California continues to lead the nation in the number of kindergarten teachers that are gainfully employed. More than 4,000 instructors are currently working in the greater Los Angeles, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2022, the government projects that nearly 21,000 additional kindergarten teachers nationwide will have already landed rewarding jobs. This projected growth spurt represents a 13 percent increase in the sum of early-childhood educators that were preparing students for future schooling in 2012.

In L.A., kindergarten teachers draw an average annual salary of around $60,000, with top classroom leaders raking in yearly wages nearing $81,000, according to current data. Before they are able to become faculty members, instructors are expected to have earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and to have completed a traditional or alternative teacher preparation program. If they want to work within a public school system, educators are required to also hold a state-issued certification or license.

Because kindergarten is an effective way to transition a child from home to a formal educational setting, it takes a special guide that is able to explain concepts in terms that young, inquisitive students can understand easily. Teachers must possess outstanding communication skills, patience and creativity. Moreover, they should know how to engage their students in the learning process and adapt their lessons to meet their pupils’ needs.

Kindergarten teachers juggle multiple subject matters, including reading, science, social studies, math and computer technology. Many add art, music and physical education to their lesson plans. They devise and teach subject matters designed for the entire class and smaller groups. It is quite common for them to work with students individually to help them conquer learning challenges.

Throughout the school year, instructors are also tasked with developing and enforcing classroom rules to teach children how to behave properly and work together as team players. They also supervise children outside the classroom environment, such as during lunchtime, recess or while on a field trip.

To learn more about becoming a kindergarten teacher or the Department of Education’s ambitious initiative to recruit one million commendable teachers in the next 10 years, visit teach.org.

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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