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There are a number of preschool teacher jobs that one can obtain, and the types available at a given school typically depends on factors such as the preschool's location, the number of students enrolled, and individual student needs. Two typical examples of preschool teacher jobs are lead classroom teachers and assistant teachers, sometimes referred to as teacher's aides. They each play a different role, and each position can vary in terms of professional qualifications and required levels of education.
A preschool teacher is generally responsible for his or her classroom and might supervise other teachers or aides. His or her principal job duties include carrying out the preschool curriculum as determined by the school's director. Depending on the size of the staff, preschool teachers might work full or part time, and they may follow traditional academic calendars with summers off, or they might work year-round, a practice that is more common in day care facilities. Additionally, preschool teacher jobs might entail teaching more than one class if the school has many students. In some cases, a teacher is also the preschool's director, a position that entails additional responsibilities.
Some typical daily duties of the average preschool teacher are to greet the children and then lead them through their routines and activities. Preschool teachers often encourage learning through play, reading, discussions, and other activities. They are also responsible for the safety and well-being of their students while under their supervision. Those with preschool teacher jobs often have some administrative responsibilities as well, such as maintaining student records and communicating with parents.
Assistant preschool teacher jobs, on the other hand, normally involve helping the lead teacher in the classroom. Many places have laws regarding teacher-to-student ratios in preschools. An assistant teacher, or teacher's aide, can help maintain this ratio and keep order in the classroom when there are many children. He or she can take a few children aside and engage them in a separate activity that complements the main lesson. Likewise, if something happens that requires one of the teachers to leave the premises, there is another teacher present to supervise the class.
A preschool teacher aide might not actually teach the students — he or she may just supervise them in certain situations or areas, such as during recess on the playground. Often, teacher assistants also provide extra help for children with special needs, such as those with mental or physical disabilities, or those who speak foreign languages. They might also focus more on clerical work in order to free up time for the teachers to carry out their lessons. Most work part time, and though the educational requirements differ by location, most places require only a high school diploma to work as a teacher's aide.