Elementary school and kindergarten teachers (NOC 4032)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers work with children from kindergarten to Grade 7. They teach in core areas such as reading, writing and arithmetic. They may also teach physical education, music and other subjects. Some specialize in second-language instruction.

Common job titles
  • elementary school reading clinician
  • reading clinician - elementary school
  • teacher, Aboriginal school
  • teacher, art / crafts
  • teacher, early childhood education
  • teacher, elementary / primary school

Duties

In general, elementary school and kindergarten teachers:

  • Use a structured plan of lessons, discussions, audio-visual presentations and field trips along with flexible instruction based on students’ interests
  • Prepare lessons based on approved curriculum and school district guidelines
  • Provide or co-ordinate hands-on, practical learning experiences
  • Lead students in activities to promote their physical, mental and social development
  • Prepare, give and mark tests and assignments
  • Monitor students’ progress and discuss with parents
  • Identify children’s individual learning needs
  • Manage various learning styles and behaviour types
  • Work with educational assistants to modify lessons for students needing extra help
  • Take part in staff meetings, conferences and teacher education workshops 

Some may also:

  • Assign and mark homework
  • Supervise teachers’ aides and student teachers

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers may choose to focus on areas such as special education, counselling, music or physical education. Some teach English as a second language (ESL). Others teach in core French or French immersion programs or in B.C.’s francophone school system.

Work environment

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers work in public and private elementary schools. They do most of their work in the classroom. Out-of-classroom learning is also an important part of the job. They regularly take care of organizational tasks, prepare lessons and do marking on their own time, often at home.

Most teachers work a 10-month school year, with two months off in July and August. They also have holidays over Christmas and at spring break.

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers use computers to share lessons and information electronically with students and parents. They also teach students how to safely use computers and tablets for in-class work.

Teaching can be a highly rewarding job for those who like to help children. It can also be challenging. Teachers work with students with a variety of learning abilities and needs. They can be faced with difficult issues in the classroom. They may also feel the physical effects of standing and bending throughout the day.

Insights from industry

Elementary school and kindergarten teachers enjoy strong job prospects.

Demand is especially high for French immersion and francophone program teachers who usually find teaching contracts in their first year of work. Demand is also very strong for teachers in rural areas.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Some new graduates secure teaching contracts right away. But many begin their careers as full- or part-time teachers teaching on call (TTOCs). TTOCs fill in for teachers who are absent–whether for a few hours, a few days, or while taking maternity leave or sabbatical.

Experienced teachers may move on to become education consultants, vice-principals, principals or school district senior managers.

Additional resources