With teachers in demand in communities around the country, it comes as no surprise that more students than ever before are interested in earning a degree in education. However, deciding to become a schoolteacher is only the first step. There are many teaching careers and opportunities available, ranging from elementary teachers to secondary teachers that work with students in middle school and high school. Narrowing down your options and answering the question, "What subject should I teach?" can help you determine which path to take during your time at University of the Cumberlands.
As you consider the career path that you want to take, you can use our guide to determine the best school subject for you.
What to consider when choosing a school subject to teach
Choosing a school subject to specialize in is largely a personal choice that is going to be dependent on your interests as an individual and your strengths as a teacher. In addition, the school subjects that you end up teaching in the classroom may vary from year to year, so it's important to have a broad education as well as several specialties.
When you start thinking about what you want to teach, you should consider the subjects you enjoy and are passionate about and the age and grade level of the students you plan to work with, as well as in-demand subjects. While you may be called upon to teach various subjects, these are all considerations and can impact your career path as a teacher.
Here are a few considerations that you need to make as you decide on the best subject to teach:
- Identify what you are most passionate about and see if you can leverage that as you pursue your degree in education or as you earn teaching certifications. Many teachers find that they enjoy teaching their own favorite subjects once they are in the classroom. You also may want to think about what other career paths you considered. For example, an education student who also considered a career as an engineer may be well-suited to teaching science or math courses.
- Choose a favorite school subject but be open to teaching other courses or subjects that are similar. Specializing in a specific school subject is the first step toward fine-tuning your degree in education, but it's important to keep in mind that you may not be teaching this subject immediately upon entering the classroom. By being flexible and open-minded, you can prepare yourself to teach variations of your favorite subject and still be an effective, passionate educator.
- Consider the age and grade level of the students that you will be working with once you are in the classroom. The teaching methods that you use and subject matter that you cover will vary greatly depending on the grade level that you teach. If you are hoping to teach elementary students, for example, you are not going to need an in-depth background in biology, chemistry, and physics. It is important to keep in mind the lesson planning age level that you will be focused on as you decide on a school subject to specialize in.
- Think about any goals you may have, or alternative careers that you may consider in the future. In all likelihood, you are going to begin your career in education in the classroom. However, a degree in education and professional experience as a teacher can lead you down many paths. If you feel that you may be well-suited to an alternative teaching career in the future, then you may want to begin to prepare now by specializing in a specific subject area. For instance, a teacher who specializes in language arts may take their career down a different path in the future as a reading intervention specialist.
- Consider the current market demands. Ultimately, your passion in a particular subject should be your priority, but you should at least consider what types of teachers are in the highest demand right now. If the demands of the market are well-suited to your personal interests, you can easily narrow down a subject area to focus on.
When you weigh all of these factors, you will find that it's relatively easy to narrow down which subjects are best for you to teach once you graduate and begin your career in the classroom. Preparing now by specializing in one or more subjects will help you land that dream job.
Can you teach multiple subjects?
Yes, you will find that no matter which grade level that you teach, you will have the opportunity to teach multiple subjects. Here's what you need to know:
- Elementary teachers often teach several subjects on any given day. An elementary classroom teacher is going to need to focus on the core subjects of language arts, writing, reading and math. This same classroom teacher is also going to need to dive into science, social studies, and other subjects that complement the curriculum. At the elementary level, there also is the possibility to focus on special subject areas, such as physical education, music, foreign language, and the arts.
- Middle school teachers are often more specialized and focus on a specific subject area. However, within that subject area, they may teach multiple courses. For instance, a middle school science teacher may teach courses such as biology, chemistry, environmental science, and geography.
- High school teachers tend to be the most focused on their specialties. A language arts teacher in high school, for example, may teach several literature classes at different levels. Within those literature classes, the teacher often has the ability to customize the curriculum to include specific topics that are of interest to them.
To have a career that is both varied and rewarding, you can consider specializing in multiple subjects. While there are teachers in demand in almost every school district, you can make yourself more marketable for the most prominent positions by earning multiple certifications in various subjects.
Best subjects to teach in the classroom
Whether you are pursuing an undergraduate degree in education or a master's degree in education, you will want to know which is the best subject to teach in the classroom. With so many fun subjects to teach, it can be difficult to decide.
We've narrowed down a list of some of the best subjects to teach in the classroom, all of which you can specialize in when you attend University of the Cumberlands.
- Health & PE
- Music Education
- Social Studies
- Special Education
It's important to keep in mind that the school subject that is right for you may not be the best option for another prospective teacher. Every teacher needs to determine what subject to teach based on their own interests, experience, and strengths. You will need to be mindful of the fact that the subject that you teach will require you to put in time for students in that specific area. The subjects that you specialize in should be those that you are also interested in on a personal level, because your passion will shine through in your work.
By taking this approach, you will be able to instill a love of learning in all your students and help them to discover their own interests and passions. Most teachers find that this ability to connect with students is what makes their jobs so rewarding.