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Mathematics Teacher Job Description, Career as a Mathematics Teacher, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics

Median Salary: $43,580 to $48,690 per year

Employment Outlook: Very good

A mathematics teacher is one who specializes and then instructs in the field of math. This professional must have an in-depth knowledge of the subject and possess a strong interest in teaching. Math teachers demonstrate numeric functions, equations, and various mathematical principles to students. They also help students think hypothetically, figure out causes and effects, understand mathematical structures, and verify solutions.

Mathematics teachers can specialize in different levels of math. They teach students at the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels. At the elementary level, math teachers usually provide students an introduction to general mathematics. They can also choose to specialize in a particular area, such as calculus, trigonometry, pre-calc, geometry, algebra, and pre-algebra for teaching at high school levels.

Mathematics teachers plan, assess, and assign lessons; manage and grade tests; maintain classroom discipline; and listen to verbal presentations. They observe and evaluate the performance of each student and use assessment methods to judge overall progress. Some other typical duties of a math teacher include engaging students in discussions, compiling notes and providing coherent lectures, tutoring students in group settings and individually, collecting specialized materials for homework, and using proper learning strategies.

Education and Training Requirements

Mathematics teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in math and complete a training program in teaching. Students should opt for a course accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The majority of training programs comprise core teaching concepts. Candidates are also allowed to teach students in classrooms under the supervision of certified teachers. Following completion of the training program, potential teachers can opt for formal licensing that will allow them to teach in public schools.

Requirements for licensing may vary from one state to another. However, math teachers generally need to have a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher training course, and pass a written test in order to be licensed. They may need to complete continuing education classes every year to maintain the license. Licensing is not always mandatory for math teachers employed in private schools.

Getting the Job

New mathematics teachers can apply directly to elementary and secondary schools. School placement offices, industry journals, newspaper classified ads, and state employment services are all helpful sources of information. Relevant employment news is also available on various math-related job Web sites.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement possibilities for mathematics teachers generally depend on experience level and educational background. Individuals can opt for further education in the field so as to be able to teach advanced math courses. If sufficiently trained, they may find jobs in computer modeling and related sectors. Often, a highly qualified and experienced mathematics teacher may become a senior teacher with additional responsibilities and higher pay.

Math instruction is an excellent career for those with a strong passion for math. Employment of mathematics teachers is likely to increase at a fast rate in the coming ten years. Job prospects are projected to be more favorable in rural areas and inner cities than in suburban regions. Job opportunities will vary depending on grade level and locality. Openings will arise from the necessity to replace mathematics teachers who transfer, retire, or leave the profession for other reasons.

Working Conditions

Mathematics teachers work indoors in classrooms or lecture halls. They may also have a small private office in which to grade papers and meet with individual students, though that is rare. They usually have access to the school’s teachers’ lounge, cafeteria, and gym. The size and quality of classroom and the scope and quality of resources, such as textbooks, computers and calculators, and other supplies, depends greatly on the individual school and school district and will vary over the years due to funding available. Teaching may become frustrating if the math instructor has disrespectful or unmotivated students. As do all teachers, mathematics teachers may cope with violence and disruptive behavior in schools. Mathematics teachers also They may find it difficult to deal with heavy workloads and large classes. Mathematics teachers in private schools usually deal with small class sizes. They have more control over setting the curriculum and establishing standards for performance.

Mathematics teachers work weeks vary in length, depending on preparation and assessment needs, tutoring in addition to regular classroom time, staff meeting requirements, and participation in other school activities since math instructors also serve as role models in the greater school community. Though the job may be hectic at times, the majority of teachers enjoy their work and find it very satisfying.

Where to Go for More Information

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
1906 Association Dr.
Reston, VA 20191-1502

The Mathematical Association of America
1529 18th St., NW
Washington, DC 20036-1358

Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey

Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators

The Math Forum @ Drexel
The Math Forum
3210 Cherry St.
Philadelphia PA 19104

Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State (AMTNYS)

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The average annual salary for mathematics teachers depends on position, degree, location, and types of benefits enjoyed. According to data published in 2009, the mean annual salary of mathematics teachers in the United States is between $43,580 and $48,690.

Since mathematics teachers are in high demand, they have a strong job security. They enjoy summer vacation, federal and state holidays, and religious holidays, if they work in a parochial school, as well as complete benefit packages, including health insurance and sick pay.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training