Elementary school and kindergarten teachers (NOC 4032)

About this job

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers teach basic subjects such as reading, writing and arithmetic or specialized subjects like second language instruction.

People in this occupation:

  • work at both public and private elementary schools
  • work in a challenging and rewarding environment
  • must have excellent communication skills, as well as the ability to inspire their students
  • must be flexible, patient and able to empathize with students
  • must also have the ability to teach students with a variety of learning abilities and needs
Common job titles
  • elementary school reading clinician
  • reading clinician - elementary school
  • teacher, Aboriginal school
  • teacher, mathematics
  • teacher, music
  • teacher, physical education
  • elementary school reading clinician
  • reading clinician - elementary school
  • teacher, Aboriginal school
  • teacher, art / crafts
  • teacher, early childhood education
  • teacher, elementary / primary school

Duties

Elementary and kindergarten teachers:

  • prepare courses for presentation to students according to approved curriculum
  • teach students using an orderly plan of lessons, discussions, audio-visual presentations and field trips
  • lead students in activities to promote their physical, mental and social development assign and correct homework
  • prepare, give and correct tests
  • evaluate the progress of students and discuss results with students, parents and school officials
  • identify children's individual learning needs
  • prepare and put in place remedial programs for students needing extra help
  • participate in staff meetings, educational conferences and teacher training workshops
  • may supervise teachers' aides and student teachers

Special duties

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers may also specialize in areas such as special education, counselling, music or physical education.  They may also teach English as a second language or teach in core French or French immersion programs or in B.C.'s French school system.

Work environment

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers do the majority of their work in classrooms at schools. They also typically prepare lessons and perform grading and organizational tasks on their own time, often at home.

Most teachers work a standard 10-month school year, with two months off in July and August, as well as a holiday over the Christmas period and at spring break.

Changes in technology mean that teachers are increasingly required to use computers to gather and store data, as well as share lessons and information electronically.

Literacy and numeracy programs within school districts target "best practice" methods that teachers are encouraged to use for lesson development, including more hands-on, practical learning.

Teaching can be a highly rewarding job for those who like to teach and help children. There are also some associated stresses that include standing or bending for a large portion of the day.

Insights from industry

In recent years, the province has experienced a number of elementary school closures due to declining kindergarten and elementary student enrollments. As the size of the 5–12 year age group is expected to continue to decline over the decade, future job creation in this profession will be not be great.

This is a very large occupational group with an older workforce compared to other occupations. Underemployment is common for newcomers to this profession since most new teachers are unable to find full-time work.

New teachers often have to work part-time for two or three years before they are considered for a permanent position. Some new graduates are also choosing to stay in larger cities and act as a teacher on call. This allows them some flexibility in their work schedule while still earning a decent salary.

New graduates may find increased employment opportunities in more rural areas of the province, where employers have more difficulty finding qualified teachers.

Graduates with training in specialized areas may also do better in the job market compared to other new teachers. In particular, there is growing demand for French immersion and Francophone program teachers. Most of these teachers secure contracts within their first year of employment.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Recent graduates can typically find part-time or on-call work as substitute teachers. Short-term work may include filling in openings caused by maternity leave or sabbaticals.

Teachers with experience may progress to other positions, such as education consultant, vice principal, principal or school district senior management.

Additional resources