Becoming a math teacher is a great move for someone who is interested in a career in education, who enjoys working with children and has a strong grasp of mathematics. You’ll need to be knowledgeable about math, able to explain complex, sequenced material in a way that is easily grasped by students at various ability levels, and have clear communication skills.
If you are considering a career in education teaching math, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree with a focus on mathematics, or get additional mathematics certification, if you already have your bachelor’s degree. You will also need to complete teacher training, and have completed coursework in adolescent development, extensive teaching theories and instructional techniques.
A mathematics teacher may teach in middle (also known as junior high) school, high school or college. For college-level employment, you’ll need a doctorate as well as a master’s degree. You may teach in public school or at a private school, and will most likely need to pass exams covering mathematics subject areas as well as basic skills. If you plan to teach at the high school level, consider a master's degree in education, and look for a concentration in mathematics. You will need to be certified by the state in which you plan to teach, and pass a background check.
Regardless of where you teach or your degree level, you will need to complete a formal student teaching program. You’ll get experience in a classroom under the supervision of a licensed math teacher as you develop your skills writing lesson plans, delivering lectures, assisting with follow-up questions, and giving and grading tests. You’ll also meet with parents and teachers regularly to discuss progress and grades and any issue that may arise.
As of 2009, according to Salary.com, full-time high school math teachers earned an average annual salary of just over $55,000. The educators with a master of education degree and experience reported a higher salary level than those with a bachelor’s degree.
As a math teacher, you’ll have the opportunity to make mathematics more than just a dry subject that has to be passed in order to move on to other subjects. You can show students how grasping the complexity of math can enhance thinking and reasoning skills, how to apply those skills to everyday life, and how to appreciate working diligently to make sense of unfamiliar concepts.