Elementary school encompasses a wide range of grade levels. In some regions, it includes kindergarten through eighth grade. In other areas, it goes through the fifth grade, and sixth, seventh and eighth grades are considered middle school. Elementary school teachers interact with students of vastly different age groups, from the early ages of five or six, to the cusp of adolescence at 11 or 12.
Students in elementary schools are all at different phases of development, and their needs vary greatly. However, most elementary school teachers focus on a specific grade level, teaching one class of students who are around the same age. In fact, some states require teachers to be certified to teach a particular grade.
Elementary school teachers usually have one class and they teach their students several different subjects. The curriculum is usually structured around the fundamental subjects of mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, music, art and reading. The exact structure and pedagogy can vary from school to school, but for the most part, elementary school focuses on building the foundation for a well-rounded education overseen by teachers who follow students closely through their development. Elementary school teachers are expected to be very hands-on, creating fun and enthusiastic atmospheres within their classrooms and adapting to meet the needs of their students.