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What Is a First Grade Teacher and How to Become One

What Does a First Grade Teacher Do?

First grade teachers educate first grade students in elementary-level reading, writing, math, social studies, and science. They prepare lesson plans for grade-level content. Students are usually still learning to read proficiently at this stage, and are learning basic addition and subtraction in math. Topics in social studies typically center around community institutions and map reading, while science material covered introduces the students to beginner-level concepts, such as the life cycle of a butterfly. A first grade teacher may also plan educational field trips and collaborate with other teachers to cultivate effective teaching methods.

How to Become a First Grade Teacher

To become a first grade teacher, earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education or a related field and become certified according to your state’s qualifications. Substitute teach or tutor elementary students to gain experience working with young children. Network with administrators and teachers in area schools to find openings for first grade teacher positions.

How to Be a Good First Grade Teacher

The best first grade teachers understand that working with young children can be challenging yet rewarding. You need a lot of patience and the ability to communicate well with students who may have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time or who may have short attention spans. Have an upbeat attitude and find ways to teach your lessons in fun and engaging ways. First graders may not yet be able to articulate their feelings, so learn how to read their body language when they are having trouble with understanding something. Offer a reassuring word or hug when they get hurt or frustrated. Also make sure to establish strict behavior guidelines to keep your classroom in order.