Options for Educators Outside of the Elementary Classroom
There are a variety of reasons educators are leaving the profession. However, post-pandemic research regarding the turnover in the teaching profession includes an interesting insight. They indicated that educators are leaving their previous job, but staying in education and some hold different jobs within the same district. By taking a closer look at some alternative teaching assignments available, stakeholders can understand that various roles are needed within districts. This is especially true in an elementary setting.
The demands of teaching younger learners can quickly lead to burnout if not given support. When analyzing other positions within several districts there are many ways educators can have an impact on learning and still teach at the elementary level.
Specialty Areas in Reading and Math
Educators teaching in schools that receive Title 1 funds or grants to target specific deficits may take advantage of these types of positions. Depending on the size and district needs, multiple positions may be needed.
Teaching students to read and understand math is an amazing opportunity. These teachers need specialized training and programs to help students understand the fundamentals of reading and math.
Many students need additional support in their own language. Having a coordinator ensures that these resources are available and implemented. They also provide training on best teaching practices.
Similarly, curriculum-specific coaches provide support for all teachers in content areas. Coaches can provide model lessons help educators understand concepts, and provide additional resources to help students and teachers be successful.
Music, Art, PE, and Library are often used for preparation periods in the Elementary setting. Depending on state licensing requirements, an endorsement may not be required to teach these areas. Teaching classes for 30-60 minutes and sending them back to their teacher may be a way to combat teaching stress.
Counselors are also educators with an endorsement to help meet the mental health needs of elementary students. In the elementary setting, they may have a role similar to other specialists and provide additional prep time as they teach lessons.
Administrative Support Staff
If furthering education is an option, some elementary teachers may want to add additional endorsements and licenses to fill these roles in their districts. Sometimes these positions are considered on the administrative pay matrix and may be just what some educators are looking for.
Behavioral Therapists, School Psychologists, and Special Education Directors
These roles are integral in the special education referral process. They are needed to support the special education teachers and student testing.
Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Pathologist
Having a very specialized area, these professionals can help students communicate and receive services based on their IEPs.
Teaching elementary students is rewarding in any capacity. Some roles may be more stressful than others, but they are all needed to provide quality education for our students. Understanding these positions helps stakeholders target their marketing to specific areas. When we all work together, we provide support to our elementary educators in all capacities.
Examining School-Level Teacher Turnover Trends: A New Angle on a Pervasive Issue
Written by: Teresa Marchant
School Librarian at LOCKWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT 26
Teresa has been an educator for over 25 years. She holds a Master’s in Educational Technology with an emphasis in Online Instruction from Montana State University as well as a certificate in School Library Media from the University of Washington. Over the years she has served in many capacities at the state and local level. Highlights include being the Vice Chair of the Certification Standards and Practices Advisory Council to the Montana Board of Public Education, a member of the School Leadership Team and Chair of the Professional Development Committee for her school district, and a member of the Montana Library Association board. She loves learning and enjoys helping others!
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