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An algebra teacher is a person who provides instruction in algebra, a form of mathematics which is widely used around the world. Students are often provided with basic algebra instruction in primary school and may go on to study advanced algebra in secondary school and college. For people who choose algebra as a lifelong interest, there are a number of career paths, including that of algebra teacher.
This branch of mathematics relies heavily on the use of symbolic representations, with students using symbols such as letters instead of numbers. These symbols are used to construction functions and equations which allow students to expand the ways in which they use math. Algebra can reach very abstract levels but it can also be used for simple and daily tasks such as calculating interest on loans, determining tax on transactions, and so forth.
Algebra teachers can offer different levels of instruction. In high schools, such instructors primarily focus on basic algebra. Students are often introduced to algebra at lower levels in school by general math teachers and the algebra teacher takes these building blocks and improves upon them so that students have a deeper understanding of algebra fundamentals. Working with students can also include tutoring for students who are struggling with mathematical concepts.
As students advance, the teaching of algebra becomes correspondingly more complex. In college, an algebra teacher instructs students in advanced topics in algebra and also assists students with research which is designed to contribute to the overall field of algebra. College algebra can delve into very complex mathematics and may be applied in a number of ways. It also serves as the grounding for other areas of mathematics such as calculus, which are especially critical for people who work in the sciences.
At all levels, an algebra teacher assigns problem sets which are used by students to practice their algebra skills. The teacher grades homework and may go over certain problems in class, especially if students appear to be having difficulty with certain concepts. In class the instructor also introduces students to new math concepts, building on previously taught material, and periodic tests are administered for the purpose of determining how well students are progressing.
In order to work as an algebra teacher, it is usually necessary to have advanced training in algebra so that the teacher remains ahead of the students. For people who wish to teach to primary school students and high school students, it may be necessary to receive a teaching certification through a series of exams which demonstrate competency. College instructors do not necessarily need teaching certifications, but they do need advanced degrees.