Beyond a bachelor's degree in mathematics, most future math teachers must train for secondary education by taking extra classes and student teaching, which adds an additional year of college. In most states, teachers are required to pass a test in education and an examination in mathematics in order to receive a teaching certificate. After receiving a job, a teacher may be required to obtain a master's degree, be evaluated annually by the principal, and complete several hours of continuing education.
A math teacher's primary tasks are to present the topics of a math course in a manner that can be understood by all students, is useful in everyday life, and will be applicable on the job. For example, a math teacher may explain how to compare the mean, or average, grades to assess the progress of the entire class or the progress of a particular student. A teacher might use the mode to assess which topics need review by looking at the questions most frequently missed on a test.
One issue concerning math teachers is their high demand compared to their low pay. Schools districts need to balance limited financial resources and the educational needs of students. To address this issue, some states and districts offer signing bonuses, stipends for math teachers, and tax-free salaries. Although some math teachers leave the profession for higher-paying jobs, those who dedicate their careers to teaching mathematics know that they are playing an extremely important role in the education of future generations.
Moffatt, Courtney W., and Thomas L. Moffatt. How to Get a Teaching Job. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
American Mathematical Society. Careers in Math. <http://www.ams.org/employment/careers-brochure.html>.
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