Career Development

What Does a 1st Grade Teacher Do?

Find out what a 1st grade teacher does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a 1st grade teacher.

1st grade teachers are responsible for shaping the early childhood development of their students. They do this by creating engaging lesson plans that introduce young children to basic concepts like numbers, letters, shapes, and colors.

1st grade teachers also help kids develop important social skills like cooperation, communication, and self-control. These lessons often take place outside of the traditional classroom setting—for example, 1st grade teachers might lead activities in the playground or organize field trips to local parks or museums.

1st Grade Teacher Job Duties

A 1st grade teacher typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Administering tests to students to assess their progress and identify areas that need improvement
  • Creating an engaging learning environment that meets individual student needs
  • Observing students’ behavior to identify any problems the student may be having
  • Providing individualized attention to each child in the class, especially those who are struggling academically or behaviorally
  • Preparing effective lesson plans that engage students in active learning
  • Assisting with student discipline where necessary, enforcing rules, and ensuring that all disciplinary measures are carried out correctly
  • Developing a rapport with students to build trust and encourage their progress
  • Creating a positive classroom environment that is conducive to learning
  • Establishing routines for students to follow during the day, such as listening quietly while others are speaking or taking turns playing with toys
  • Ensuring students understand classroom rules and regulations, such as staying seated during class time

1st Grade Teacher Salary & Outlook

First-grade teachers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of school they work in. They may also earn additional income through bonuses or overtime pay.

  • Median Annual Salary: $48,000 ($23.08/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $79,500 ($38.22/hour)

The employment of 1st grade teachers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The primary reason is that demand for prekindergarten programs is expected to increase as more states require preschool education for children. In addition, more parents are likely to see the benefits of early education and want their children to attend preschool.

Related: 1st Grade Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

1st Grade Teacher Job Requirements

A 1st grade teacher typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: All first grade teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many first grade teachers choose to pursue a degree in early childhood education or elementary education. These degrees provide foundational knowledge of child development, teaching methods and classroom management.

Training & Experience: Most new teachers will complete a teacher training program before beginning their first year of teaching. These programs are typically a year long and include coursework and supervised teaching experience.

Certifications & Licenses: 1st grade teachers are required to have a license to teach. Requirements vary from state to state, but most require candidates to have completed a bachelor’s degree and a teaching internship and to pass a state-approved exam.

Many schools require first-year teachers to complete a teaching certification program.

1st Grade Teacher Skills

1st grade teachers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the act of exchanging information. As a first grade teacher, you must be able to communicate with your students, parents and colleagues. You must be able to communicate effectively in order to teach your students effectively. You must also be able to communicate with parents about their child’s progress and communicate with colleagues about lesson plans and classroom management.

Organization: Organization is another skill that can help you be an effective first grade teacher. You may need to keep track of many different assignments, materials and resources for your classroom. Being able to keep track of everything can help you be prepared for your lessons and make sure your students have what they need to learn.

Collaboration: Collaboration is the ability to work with others to complete a task. As a first grade teacher, you may work with other teachers to plan curriculum or collaborate with other teachers to observe students’ progress. Collaboration is an important skill for any profession and can help you to work more efficiently.

Creativity: Creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas and solutions. As a first grade teacher, you may be teaching the same curriculum to the same group of students every year. This can be a challenge, but your creativity can help you come up with new ways to engage your students and keep them interested in the subject matter.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. As a first grade teacher, you may be responsible for planning and leading lessons, grading assignments and evaluating student progress. Critical thinking can help you make informed decisions about your students’ learning and help you develop effective teaching strategies.

1st Grade Teacher Work Environment

A 1st grade teacher typically works in a school with other 1st grade teachers and support staff. The work environment is usually fast-paced and can be stressful, as 1st grade teachers are responsible for teaching young children the basics of reading, writing, and math. 1st grade teachers typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may have to work additional hours to prepare for classes and meet with parents. Some 1st grade teachers also teach summer school or evening classes.

1st Grade Teacher Trends

Here are three trends influencing how 1st grade teachers work. 1st grade teachers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on STEM Education

As the world becomes more and more technologically advanced, the need for students to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) becomes increasingly important.

This trend is being seen in schools across the country, as teachers are placing a greater emphasis on STEM education. This means that 1st grade teachers will need to be familiar with the latest STEM teaching methods and materials. They will also need to be able to help their students develop critical thinking skills, which are essential for success in any field.

More Collaboration Between Teachers

The trend of increased collaboration between teachers is becoming more popular as schools look for ways to improve student achievement.

By working together, teachers can share ideas and resources, which can lead to better outcomes for students. Additionally, teachers can collaborate with each other to create a more positive school culture, which can have a lasting impact on students.

Technology Becomes More Important

As technology becomes more important in our daily lives, it is also becoming more important in the classroom. This is evident in the increasing use of technology in the classroom, such as computers, tablets, and smartboards.

1st grade teachers who are comfortable using technology in the classroom will be better equipped to teach students the skills they need to succeed in today’s world. In addition, they will be better prepared to meet the needs of students who come from homes where technology is used frequently.

How to Become a 1st Grade Teacher

A career as a 1st grade teacher can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to consider your personal goals and interests when deciding on a teaching career path. Do you want to work with young children? Would you prefer to teach in a private or public school setting?

If you’re interested in becoming a 1st grade teacher, there are several steps you can take to get started. You can begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in education, specializing in early childhood education. Additionally, many states require teachers to have certification in order to teach in public schools.

Advancement Prospects

After several years of teaching 1st grade, some teachers may move up to higher grade levels, such as 2nd or 3rd grade. Others may become reading specialists or work with students who have special needs. Some 1st grade teachers may also move into administrative roles, such as school principal or curriculum coordinator.

1st Grade Teacher Job Description Example

We are looking for a 1st grade teacher who is passionate about education and helping students reach their potential. The ideal candidate will have a strong knowledge of the 1st grade curriculum, as well as a dedication to creating a positive and nurturing learning environment. He or she will be able to effectively manage a classroom of diverse learners, and have a proven track record of success in promoting student achievement. The 1st grade teacher will be a team player who is willing to collaborate with colleagues, and be an active participant in the larger school community.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement lesson plans that reflect the state curriculum and are appropriate for the students’ developmental level
  • Manage a classroom of up to 25 students, creating a positive learning environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and exploring new ideas
  • Establish rules and procedures for the classroom that promote a safe and orderly learning environment
  • Use a variety of assessment tools to monitor student progress and identify areas in need of improvement
  • Work with parents and guardians to keep them informed of their child’s progress and address any concerns they may have
  • Collaborate with other teachers and school staff to develop and implement instructional programs and support services for students
  • Attend professional development workshops and seminars to stay up-to-date on new teaching methods and educational technologies
  • Participate in extracurricular activities such as field trips, clubs, and sports teams
  • Perform administrative duties such as maintaining student records and preparing reports
  • Select and order books, materials, and supplies for the classroom
  • Supervise and mentor student teachers and interns
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the school administration

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in elementary education or related field
  • Valid teaching license for state of employment
  • 4+ years teaching experience in a 1st grade classroom
  • Demonstrated success in designing and implementing engaging, standards-based lesson plans
  • Excellent communication, organizational, and time-management skills
  • Classroom management skills with the ability to maintain a positive learning environment

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in elementary education or related field
  • 6+ years teaching experience in a 1st grade classroom
  • Experience working in a diverse and inclusive classroom environment
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) proficiency
  • Technology skills, including experience with interactive whiteboards, tablets, and educational apps


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