Do elementary school teachers teach all subjects? | teacher like (2023)

Teaching a subject to a class of around 30 dynamic students can be challenging. So it's fascinating how an elementary school teacher manages to teach multiple subjects.

Primary school teachers often teach all core subjects, including math, science, English, history and art. The teacher training course and the requirements ensure that prospective primary school teachers are qualified across subjects and interdisciplinary.

In this article, I will explain the qualifications for primary school teachers that will allow them to teach any subject. I will also show the pros and cons of this system and mention some subjects that elementary school teachers cannot guide.

Primary school teacher duties

have primary and secondary teachersdifferent responsibilitiesto meet the learning needs of children of different ages. For example, elementary school teachers often spend more time covering basic social and emotional behaviors that are expected of students.

Elementary school teachers should encourage young children to get along and develop a positive attitude towards learning. When children start preschool at the age of five, they often have little or no experience of being in a room full of other children. They need to learn to communicate, share and socialize for the first time.

Teaching these essential skills falls on the shoulders of elementary school teachers.

This is not to say that students are not taught academic skills. On the contrary, elementary school teachers are tooResponsible for teaching various subjects, from math to music and everything in between.

High school teachers, on the other hand, focus on a specific subject area to encourage a deeper understanding of the subject in older students.

Pros and cons of teaching all subjects

If you are considering becoming an elementary school teacher, it helps if you understand the ins and outs of the profession for you and the students. Especially with regard to the content conveyed.


Although it may seem like a lot of work, teaching all subjects in elementary school has some benefits, especially for teachers who want to work independently and creatively. Let's see the benefits below:

(Video) Why teachers teach but kids don’t learn | Ben Richards | TEDxYouth@Haileybury

The interdisciplinary approach makes learning cohesive

Managing all subjects for young students benefits both the teacher and the students. On the one hand, the teacher can design a pedagogical concept that connects and integrates the lessons.

This holistic approach has proven to be more effective in creating a more complete and engaging learning experience for students.

For example, using the same symbols for a math problem in reading class makes problem solving more fun for students because they recognize the symbols. It can make teaching more consistent and reduce the problem of information overload for young children.

Teachers can also discover the most effective learning methods for children based on their natural learning styles such as auditory, kinesthetic or visual learning.

Here is a video showing what cross-curricular teaching looks like in elementary school:

This is possible because primary school teachers often have more autonomy in lesson planning, making the process more efficient. In addition, greater independence means more opportunities for teachers to express their creativity and innovation.

The potential to create a stronger teacher-student relationship

A child's relationship with the teacher isan essential factorin determining their overall behavior in relation to learning and future academic success.

When the child forms a close bond with the teacher, they are motivated to go to school and enjoy learning. On the other hand, if the child is uncomfortable, this can negatively affect their behavior towards school as they grow up.

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Having a single teacher who teaches all subjects can be beneficial as consistency can help a child build a strong foundation of the skills and attitudes needed to learn. Essentially, students can focus on lesson content rather than having to worry about changing teachers or classes.

When an adult is in the classroom, children can look to the elementary school teacher as a trusted authority. There is no ambiguity about expectations because all rules and routines come from an adult.Trustis central to building a relationship with students.

On the other hand, when there are multiple teachers teaching multiple subjects, it can be difficult for children to adjust, especially for students with special needs.

Of course, the teacher must be able to instill these positive values ​​in the children and build strong relationships with them. Fortunately, elementary school teachers are trained to pay attention to various aspects of a child's intellectual development, including emotional, social, and psychological.

The teacher can better respond to the needs of the students

It takes a lot of time and effort to get to know students both academically and personally. A teacher who teaches all subjects to a group of children will spend more time with them, so naturally they get to know the students better.

As more time is invested, students' strengths, knowledge gaps, things that motivate them, preferred teaching styles, and much more become visible. With this deeper understanding, the teacher can respond more effectively to the needs of the students. The result is generally better academic success.

For example, because the teacher knows that most students are interested in a particular book, they can refer to events and characters from the book to make the lesson more engaging.

Teaching in all subjects also gives the teacher a complete picture of each child. Some students are not very confident in math but can be very creative and talented in art. If these students had different teachers for each subject, the math teacher would perceive the students worse than the arts teacher, which is misleading and unfair.

The potential and effectiveness of personalized learning is enhanced when teachers know their students better. And this goes hand in hand with the increase in instruction time allotted to teaching all the lessons.

In contrast

Realistically, even passionate teachers admit that they teach all subjects in elementary school vigorously and at timesbluntlyChildren can be quite a challenge. Here are some disadvantages of teaching all subjects to a group of students:

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The teacher has to prepare many lessons

The interdisciplinarity of the elementary school lessons allows for an independent design of the lessons, but it is certainly exhausting. You must find creative ways to combine and connect different themes to keep students engaged throughout the day.

It's easy to understand that children, especially younger ones, have limited attention spans. Because of this, one of the challenges for elementary school teachers is finding effective ways to engage their interest and encourage academic growth.

Secondary school teachers also need to ensure that their classes are fun and engaging to keep students motivated to learn. But the key difference is that they have the advantage of only focusing on one issue instead of taking care of several.

Also, subject teachers are specialists in their field, so they should have more confidence in making learning their subject enjoyable.

Given these points, it could be argued that having a single teacher teaching all subjects is actually detrimental to students if the teacher lacks subject knowledge or self-management skills.

Limit student interactions with other adults

Children develop social skills in elementary school with peers and adults. Having only one teacher in the classroom throughout the day can limit students' ability to interact with other adults.

Routines and procedures established with one teacher for an entire year can be difficult to break when students transfer to another teacher's class.

If instead they worked regularly with different teachers, they would find more balanced exposure and acquire a more complete set of communication and people skills.

As a compromise, some elementary schools find it more beneficial to have ittwo teachersin the classroom. Of course, both teachers should be able to teach all subjects. Such a facility gives children more opportunities to interact with adults in the classroom and ensures they get the attention they need.

But this approach also limits each teacher's autonomy and relies on them working together effectively, which in itself is a challenge.

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When teachers and students cannot work together effectively, it becomes a long and uncomfortable experience for both.

We don't want to imagine a classroom where a student and a teacher have a bad relationship. But unfortunately it happens. A bad teacher-student relationship ruins the school experience for both parties.

Sometimes students don't trust their teacher. Lack of trust can be due to ineffective behavior management by the teacher.

Another reason trust can be compromised is when students perceive the teacher that waymeanor unreasonable. Teachers who are rude or make fun of students cannot expect much from their students.

On the other hand, sometimes teachers just can't communicate with some students. Even after trying multiple strategies and approaches, students may still show a lack of respect and commitment to the school.

Both views reveal an unhealthy employment relationship. Imagine having to endure or witness this unsustainable dynamic every day for the entire academic year.

Therefore, having a teacher work with the same group of students for an extended period of time may not be ideal when there is tension in the teacher-student relationship.

Subjects that elementary school teachers cannot teach

Primary school teachers need excellent skills to teach core subjects such as English, math, science and social studies. However, depending on the school, not all primary school teachers are required to teach special subjects, especially if the school wants to develop such special skills in the students.

Examples of topics that require specialists are:

  • Physical education (physical education):If the school has swimming lessons, they will likely hire a professional swimming instructor with proper lifeguard and first aid training. Helps ensure the teacher can provide a quality education while keeping the children safe.
  • Music:The school often hires professional music teachers when it offers advanced music or instrumental instruction. Sometimes a regular teacher with advanced musical skills and relevant certifications for teaching music can also be hired.
  • dance class:Elementary schools offering dance classes, including ballet, are required to hire a professional ballet teacher with the required dance training.

final thoughts

Primary school teachers teach their students all subjects and assess their learning potential. The teaching methodology helps them ensure a cohesive learning experience and develop strategies to encourage their students to enjoy learning. Students also benefit from being tutored by an adult as both parties get used to it and form a stronger connection.

However, an elementary school teacher who takes all subjects also has its potential disadvantages, such as: B. the extensive preparation required in planning all lessons and the limited interaction of students with other adults.

(Video) The One Thing All Great Teachers Do | Nick Fuhrman | TEDxUGA

Finally, it should be noted that primary school teachers may not be required to teach some specialty subjects such as swimming or music.


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Do elementary school teachers teach all subjects? | teacher like? ›

Elementary school teachers are typically responsible for teaching

Teacher education or teacher training refers to programs, policies, procedures, and provision designed to equip (prospective) teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, approaches, methodologies and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school, and wider community. › wiki › Teacher_education
all subjects, especially in kindergarten through third grade. They instruct the same students each day and classes only change for electives such as physical education and art.

What is it called when an elementary teacher teaches all subjects? ›

The Multiple Subject Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach all subjects in a self-contained classroom, such as the classrooms in most elementary schools, in grades preschool, K–12, or in classes organized primarily for adults.

What is it called when you teach all subjects in elementary school? ›

In addition, an elementary educator teaches all subjects in their school district's curriculum to students while a secondary educator teaches a single subject.

What is the hardest grade to teach in elementary school? ›

The Verdict: Fifth grade~ what a special grade. But do you see many of these factors as deal breakers? Do you have more cons than pros? If so, teaching fifth grade may be the hardest elementary grade for you to teach.

What is the easiest subject to teach in elementary school? ›

10 Easiest Subjects to Teach
  • Math. Math is a subject that is mainly conceptual. ...
  • Physical Education. If you're like most people, you probably dreaded having to go to gym class when you were in school. ...
  • Art. ...
  • Music. ...
  • Science. ...
  • Health. ...
  • Spelling. ...
  • History.

What teacher teaches all subjects? ›

In the United States, elementary school teachers are expected to teach all the subjects in the curriculum. It is not until secondary school that teachers specialize by subject. Perhaps this is because the subjects taught are...well... elementary.

What is it called when teachers teach all subjects? ›

A teacher who teaches all subjects is often called a generalist or a classroom teacher.

What is the hardest subject to teach in school? ›

Math seems to be the hardest to learn for more students. Therefore it would be difficult to teach, even though it is one of the most logical classes. Foreign languages are a close second, and these are not really logical. Physics is also one that students complain about, but it isn't required in some high schools.

Do 4th grade teachers teach all subjects? ›

4th-grade teachers are professionals that have been trained to work in elementary schools and are responsible for teaching different subjects, including mathematics, arts, science, vocabulary, reading, and language.

What elementary grade is the best to teach? ›

If your really love helping young learners grow and play, preschool, kindergarten, or grades 1 through 3 are great. If you're more interested in helping children develop good thinking skills as they mature, grade 4 is a good place to start.

What is the hardest year of elementary school? ›

Third Grade is an Important Transitional Year: How Parents Can Help. Are you aware that the transition from second to third grade is often considered to be one of the most difficult years in your child's education? Most educators are aware of this big leap, but many parents may not be.

What is the hardest age to teach? ›

While middle school is undoubtedly one of the hardest age groups to teach, it can also be the most rewarding for teachers and students alike, but there are a few things we'd like you to know to understand it truly.

Which grade is most important in elementary school? ›

The early elementary years – from kindergarten through third grade – are particularly important ones in children's schooling. Parents and teachers know that children acquire new skills and knowledge rapidly during these years.

What is the least used school subject? ›

Several other studies suggest that mathematics has the dubious honor of being the least popular subject in the curriculum." In one survey of high-school seniors, investigators found that 12% had never taken any algebra or geometry, 26% had dropped mathematics after only one year, 30% had dropped it after two.

What subjects need teachers the most? ›

According to the Department of Education, the past few years have shown an increased shortage of teachers in certain subjects and an oversupply in others. High demand jobs exist in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and local languages.

Is it hard being an elementary school teacher? ›

Every teacher is impactful, especially those that work with children early in their educational paths. Becoming an elementary school teacher is hard work but can be very rewarding. Deciding if your personality, education and career aspirations are a fit for the job is important to consider before diving into the field.

Why do teachers teach multiple subjects? ›

Multi-subject lessons also allow for enhanced collaboration opportunities between teachers, as we can share our expertise and resources with one another. This can lead to more opportunities to relate content-based learning in our areas to students' life-experiences with broader application.

Can you teach 2 subjects? ›

If you want to teach more than one subject to older students, you'll likely need to get multiple teaching licenses. This isn't as hard as it sounds! Once you get an initial license through a teaching degree or post-bac courses, gaining an additional license may only take a few extra classes.

What is it called when a teacher teaches only one subject? ›

A teacher who routinely teaches just one subject would be a subject specialist and that is what most secondary school teachers are or prefer to be.

How do elementary students learn best? ›

Elementary students generally learn best from hands-on activities. For instance, students will most likely have difficulty understanding the concept of multiplication if it is just explained to them.

What is the hardest grade in school? ›

While each year of high school will have its own stressors, many will say junior year is the most challenging. Junior year can be the hardest for several reasons, but with the right prep and expectations, high school students can make the hardest year just a little easier.

Which class is the toughest in school? ›

Engineering is considered one of the most difficult courses in the world as it involves more math and physics than most students want to take on. The course curriculum includes problem-solving using tactical and analytical skills and critical thinking.

What is the hardest degree in the world? ›

What are the hardest degrees in the world? Ranked by Experts
  • Chartered Accountancy.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Quantum Mechanics.
  • Law.
  • Aerospace/ Aeronautical Studies, Engineering.
  • Biomedical Studies, Neurosciences, Biochemistry.
  • Nursing.
  • Dentistry, Medicine.
Dec 16, 2022

What does a 5th grade teacher teach? ›

Writing, math, science, and logic are some of the most essential 5th-grade subjects as they form a foundational platform for kids to learn other subjects with greater efficiency. Your children can also focus on improving reading to enhance knowledge grasping across different subjects.

Do 2nd grade teachers teach all subjects? ›

Elementary school teachers are typically responsible for teaching all subjects, especially in kindergarten through third grade. They instruct the same students each day and classes only change for electives such as physical education and art.

Is teaching 4th grade math hard? ›

Even if your child has previously done well in math, the expectations are higher in fourth grade. They now have to multiply and divide with multi-digit numbers and have to work with and compare fractions. These can be hard for your child to grasp, especially if they were not doing very well before.

How old are most elementary teachers? ›

There are over 1,650,500 elementary school teachers currently employed in the United States. 80.5% of all elementary school teachers are women, while 19.5% are men. The average age of an employed elementary school teacher is 42 years old.

What grade teacher is most in demand? ›

English, math, and science teacher shortages are concentrated at the middle school level, while special education teachers are needed across all grade levels and specializations.

What grade teacher makes the most money? ›

What grade / level do teachers get paid the most? The highest earners are typically high school level teachers, and the lowest paid are preschool teachers.

What is the easiest school year? ›

Going into high school, many students hear that freshman year is the “easiest” year. Some think that colleges don't consider it as much as they do one's sophomore, junior, and senior years. While this is typically true, it doesn't mean that students should entirely dismiss the importance of their freshman year.

Is fifth grade hard to teach? ›

Fifth grade curriculum can be pretty difficult. The math skills move from concrete skills easy to understand, draw, and manipulate to abstract skills that require reasoning and logic. The reading levels increase and the rigor of the reading tasks can seem very daunting at the beginning of the year.

What is the hardest grade in America? ›

It's the worse year because of pressure academically: socially, and mentally. 11th grade has to be the hardest grade because it is what determines your class rank when you graduate and your ACT and SAT scores start to become recognized, as well as colleges looking at your grades before admission.

What age do students learn best? ›

Recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child's development.

What ages are the hardest in life? ›

One's late twenties and early thirties, from an emotional perspective, are therefore the worst part of life. It's during these years that people experience the most negative thoughts and feelings and experience the most mind wandering, a psychological state that has been shown to be detrimental to well-being.

What ages are hardest with kids? ›

Every stage of parenting has its challenges, but one poll reveals what age most parents feel they struggled with the most.

What grade is most common? ›

Study: The Most Common Grade Given By Colleges Is An 'A' : The Two-Way : NPR. Study: The Most Common Grade Given By Colleges Is An 'A' : The Two-Way The study found that about 43 percent of all letter grades given in four-year colleges and universities were A's, making it the most common mark.

Does GPA matter in elementary school? ›

Elementary School Grades In Perspective

Colleges only look at high school grades. So it's far more important to prepare a child for good grades in high school. And that often does not mean focusing on good grades in elementary and middle school. There are far more important things.

Which grades matter the most? ›

Your junior year grades are essential: it's the grade a college will look at most, along with your senior year. Your grades predetermine your academic performance for your final year. Your GPA and the “sturdiness” of it matters.

What subjects have the most teacher shortages? ›

Data from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2022-2023 school year shows the state has the most shortages in special education, career and technical education, science, art and music, world languages, language arts, English as a second language and health and physical fitness.

Which state has the greatest teacher shortage? ›

Georgia had the highest number of vacancies (3,112) for the 2019-2020 school year. More recently, during the 2021-2022 school year, Florida had the most vacancies with 3,911 positions unfulfilled. That same school year, Mississippi and Alabama had over 3,000 vacancies.

Which one is the most important for a teacher? ›

Dedication. One of the most important parts of teaching is having dedication. Teachers not only listen, but also coach and mentor their students. They are able to help shape academic goals and are dedicated to getting their students to achieve them.

What are the cons of being an elementary teacher? ›

Having to teach English, math, social studies, science, and more in an elementary school can be stressful. You have a lot more lessons you need to prep for the day. You also may have shallower knowledge in the subjects compared to a teacher that dedicates all their teaching in one subject.

What is a typical day for an elementary school teacher? ›

Many teachers use time after students leave the classroom to clean or prepare the space for the following day. Teachers also grade assignments, communicate with parents and guardians, and attend professional development sessions. Meetings between teachers and administration may also occur after school.

What are the disadvantages of being an elementary teacher? ›

The Pros and Cons of Being an Elementary Teacher
  • Pro: Formation. ...
  • Con: Working with upset parents/administrators. ...
  • Pro: Unique perspective on the world. ...
  • Con: Low salary and long hours. ...
  • Pro: Student breakthroughs. ...
  • Con: Unmotivated students. ...
  • Pro: Summer Break. ...
  • Con: Exposure to sickness.
Jan 19, 2022

What is it called when you teach multiple subjects? ›

Cross-Curricular teaching is the essence of collaboration for students' learning—a fundamental way to teach concepts in the context of multiple subjects at once. It requires the math teacher to align with the literature teacher, who aligns with the art teacher.

What are the four types of teaching? ›

There are different types of teaching methods that can be categorized into four broad types.
  • Teacher-centred methods,
  • Learner-centred methods,
  • Content-focused methods; and.
  • Interactive/participative methods.
Jan 22, 2019

What is a didactic teacher? ›

In didactic method of teaching, the teacher gives instructions to the students and the students are mostly passive listeners . It is a teacher-centered method of teaching and is content-oriented. Neither the content nor the knowledge of the teacher are questioned.

Can a teacher teach two subjects at the same time? ›

If you want to teach more than one subject to older students, you'll likely need to get multiple teaching licenses. This isn't as hard as it sounds! Once you get an initial license through a teaching degree or post-bac courses, gaining an additional license may only take a few extra classes.

Is it better to study one subject or multiple? ›

Interweave Your Subjects

You might think that if you want to learn one thing well, the best thing to do would be to sit down and concentrate on it for as long as you can stand. But research shows that mixing tasks and topics is a better bet.

Which teaching method is best for elementary level? ›

Today, the Montessori method is most popular in preschools, kindergartens, and lower elementary grades. In this method, the teacher prepares an ideal classroom environment full of activities that children may pick from to work on.

What is the most used teaching style? ›

Instructor-focused teaching—the approach to education that involves a central figure guiding the learning experience—is probably the most well-known teaching style. In instructor-focused teaching, one authority figure holds the reins and takes students through the learning material.

What is the qualities of a good teacher? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What are the 5 most common teaching styles? ›

In the contemporary classroom, five distinct teaching styles have emerged as the primary strategies adopted by modern teachers: The Authority Style, The Delegator Style, The Facilitator Style, The Demonstrator Style and The Hybrid Style.

What is the rule of 3 teacher? ›

The Rule of Three for learning establishes the requirement that students be given the opportunity to learn something at least three times before they are expected to know it and apply it.


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