So, you want to be an elementary school teacher?

Jacqueline Robles

Elementary school teachers mostly teach kindergarten up to the sixth grade. They always make sure to prepare their students for the future when they grow up to another higher grade but especially for life after they finish school. I mostly would see how hard working my teachers have been back in elementary school and they have helped me get to where I’m at right now as a senior in high school.

Many private and public universities in Illinois offer a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and training. The least expensive tuition out of 10 schools that I randomly chose was National Louis University for $12,846 for the year. However, Northeastern Illinois University is one of two universities that offer a bachelor’s degree in Elementary teaching. Tuition at Northeastern would run you about 26,825 for the year. However, because I am going to be in Morton College for about two years, I will also go to Northeastern University for the other two years in order to get a bachelor’s degree. There are about thirty-two universities and about eleven colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree. And two of the Colleges and universities examples are the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Northeastern Illinois University (NIU), Blackburn College, and Elmhurst College. I think that the most economic option is NIU because, at Northeastern University, they allow their students to work a part-time job while studying there so that they can pay their student loans easier and quicker. And lastly, if you want to be an Elementary Education teacher, my advice to you is to stay away from the proprietary (for-profit) schools! For example, Argosy University (Chicago, Illinois). This is one of the schools that would tempt you to join them by getting a scholarship and or with an interesting loan offer but instead, you end up paying around $30,000 worth of debt!

I have interviewed my elementary school music teacher Mrs. Pohl Nudd who works in Lincoln Elementary School and she is also the one who is in charge of the Singing Lions choir.

Q: How long have you been doing this for?

A: I’ve been doing this for about 17 years now and I have always loved working here.

Q: Why did you decide to work here for many years?

A:  I just love how every year I have students where they love having me as a teacher because they say that I teach very fun and would inspire them to actually have a career in music or even teach their very own music class one day.

Q: Did you ever think about teaching other subjects rather than having to teach music only?

A: No I enjoy working with music because as a kid I even wanted to be a musician and work somewhere where I can show how much music has helped me along the way. For example, I wanted to be on the radio and have that type of career but instead, I just wanted to motivate others to follow their musical dreams if they had that same passion as I did when I was a kid.

Q: what would you say to your students if they were to actually have a similar dream as you and how would you motivate them as a music teacher?

A: I would mostly say that to never give up their dreams and to keep fighting for what they want to accomplish in life to succeed in their musical dreams. I would also motivate them by inviting those students to the choir and see what type of talent they have in order to help them figure out what they like to do the most especially in music class.

Q: Who do you think has a tougher job when teaching students elementary, middle, or high school?

A: Honestly I think I am between elementary and high school because in elementary school you have to be extra careful with the children’s behavior especially when you have to show them disciplinary for whenever they do something out of control or just something small. And they are just beginning school and they are always running around and screaming so it’s kind of hard to maintain them quit and sometimes it could be difficult to have them pay attention to what you are teaching them. And in high school, I’m pretty sure it’s similar to what I said happens in elementary because those teachers have to deal with the fact that since they are way older than they were in elementary, it might be as more challenging as to maintain their focus to what they say when teaching their class.

Q: So what can you tell me about how it all started when you thought about teaching little kids?

A: It all started when I was in elementary school and all I wanted to do was stay in my music class with my favorite teacher Mrs. Thompson. She had taught me so many things that I would have never imagined of doing in the future but yet here we are and there are times where I feel like I’m just like her because she would always sing these songs at the beginning of class as an icebreaker. And now I’m doing the same thing as she did with all of my classes.

Q: What has been difficult for you as you teach your classes?

A:  Telling some kids to stop fooling around and to have them stay quiet because there are some classes where they had just come back from playing outside for recess and so they would still have full of energy in them.

Q:  How does it feel to be in charge of the kids?

A: It feels really great but then there are times where I do get scared because I have to teach and take care of the choir but at the same time I have to make sure that none of the students get hurt or that nothing happens to them at all. The kids are my first priority before doing anything else. There’s a lot to be aware of and when I first started working here, I would freak out because I would always imagine what would happen if something were to happen but thankfully nothing bad happened so now that I have even more experience I am much calmer than the very first day of my job that’s for sure.