Once you have decided that you want to work with young children you need to determine what kind of role you are looking for. In preschool classrooms, there are generally two positions for teachers. An assistant preschool teacher and a lead preschool teacher. In both of these positions you would be interacting with preschoolers on a daily basis and supporting them in their play experiences, but there are some key differences in the positions as well.
ASSISTANT PRESCHOOL TEACHER
Assistant teachers play a vital role in preschool classrooms. There main job is that of supporting the lead preschool teacher. They are the glue that holds everything together. Without an assistant teacher, the lead teacher would not be able to accomplish all of the tasks necessary in running a preschool classroom. Managing a large group of preschoolers is also a lot more challenging on your own, too. Without the support of an assistant teacher, it would be difficult to effectively teach a large group of preschoolers.
Qualification requirements for preschool assistant teachers vary a great deal from state to state, and even between employers. All teachers must pass background checks and typically be certified in first aid and CPR, too. Assistant preschool teachers are expected to have a high school diploma at the very least, but usually directors of high quality preschool programs prefer an associates degree or higher. This is especially true if there is not a considerable amount of hands on experience working with young children.
Responsibilities of the Assistant Teacher
An assistant preschool teacher has many of the same responsibilities as a lead teacher, but on a smaller scale. Their job is basically to support the lead teacher in what they need to successfully run an efficient classroom. Here is a list of responsibilities of an assistant preschool teacher. The assistant teacher is responsible for helping plan, prep, and implement curriculum.
- Planning, prepping, and implementing curriculum
- Work one-on-one with preschoolers
- Parent communication of daily activities
- Implementing proper child guidance
LEAD PRESCHOOL TEACHER
The lead teacher is just that, a leader. They are responsible for leading the assistant teacher(s), classroom volunteers, and of course their preschoolers. It falls on the lead teacher to be able to keep the classroom running smoothly and be responsible for overall classroom management.
Just like assistant preschool teachers, lead teachers must be certified in first aid and CPR and also pass a background check. They are also expected to have a couple of years experience working in the early education field, have excellent communication skills, and a degree is expected in most cases.
Responsibilities of the Lead Teacher
The lead teacher’s job is to keep the classroom running smoothly and the children working towards their developmental goals through play and exploration. There are a lot of responsibilities put on the lead teacher and it is up to them to find the right balance to accomplish it all.
- Developing lesson plans
- Implementing lesson plans
- Maintaining open communication with parents
- Documenting children’s progress
- Supervising assistant teacher(s)
- Maintaining child records
- Parent conferences
- Creating a developmentally appropriate classroom environment
The assistant preschool teacher and the lead preschool teacher are a team. They must work together as a collaborative team in order to make the best preschool classroom environment that they can. They work together on all things involved in running and maintaining the classroom flow.