Charter School Teacher: Job Outlook, Education, Salary
Charter schools are publicly funded yet operate independently, so they don’t have the same requirements as their local school districts. Charter school teachers can pursue their passion for different types of education, such as schools focusing on maths or the arts, or other types of schools like the Montessori school program.
The growth rate for charter schools isn’t on pace with their school district peers. As the population of a city grows, the number of public schools grows at a measurable pace because public schools legally cannot turn away students in their district. Charter schools, however, are not affected by changes in population because they admit by lottery and have a select number of seats available. They are founded by a sponsoring agency with a desire to fill a gap in the community; thus, job opportunities in charters schools may not be as plentiful as in public schools.
At-a-glance: charter school teacher
Charter school teachers have the same responsibilities that teachers in any public classroom do: present material to students, ensure that these students understand the material, and the students learn in accordance with the mission of the charter school. Charter schools typically are founded by an organization with a specific mission for education, and charter school teachers are screened to determine if their educational philosophy is in line with the school’s.
Charter school teacher job description
Charter school teachers may teach multiple subjects in an elementary setting or specialized subjects in a middle or high school environment. Charter school teachers are selected according to their capability for following the mandates of the school’s charter and the needs of their students.
Much of the instructional leadership falls on the individual charter school teachers, such as:
- Create and deliver instructional lessons that meet curriculum requirements and the mission of the charter school
- Select engaging and motivating content for students
- Vary teaching methods for whole group, small group, and individual instruction
- Ensure the correct instructional materials for each class or grade level, including classroom aides and supplies that contribute to organized study units
- Assess, evaluate and record student performance
- Collaborate with parents for a full-circle learning experience that gives parents the tools they need to reinforce learning at home.
Who makes a good charter school teacher
Choosing to teach at a charter school versus teaching in a public or private school is a “labor of love”. Charter school teachers are selected not only because of their dedication to the mission of the charter but also because of their unique qualifications for delivering the best education to their students.
Many charter school teachers have these characteristics that make them successful:
- Formal education and relevant experience
- Dedication to the mission of the charter school
- Unique life experiences that make them qualified for the charter mission
- Depth of knowledge for specialized education
- A personality that engages both students and their families into the learning experience
- Willingness to differentiate instruction for range of learning styles and needs
Charter school teacher in-depth
Teaching requirements for a charter school teacher are the same as a public school teacher. However, charter school teachers are often called upon to create their own lesson plans from scratch, versus following the plans set forth by a school district or the state. While the students in a charter school are expected to perform at the same level as public school children on standardized tests, the route to getting these results is often left to the individual teachers in a charter school.
Education: Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral graduate degree
Typical time to earn a graduate degree: 3-7 years
Average salaries for charter school teachers
Salary for charter school teachers ranges from $39,000 to $97,00 and varies widely depending on the location but typically match those of the public school teachers in the area. Typical starting salaries reported are:
Job Outlook for Charter School Teacher
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth expectancy for a charter school teacher is expected to grow on pace with the national average, about 4% per year. The education required for a charter school teacher is the same as those at public and private schools, a bachelors’ degree in education and the appropriate certification.
Challenges and opportunities for charter school teachers
Like people who choose many positions in education, most charter school teachers enter the profession because they have a passion for educating children.
- Greater autonomy in the classroom. Charter school teachers have more flexibility for teaching students as long as they meet certain metrics as mandated by the school
- More involvement from parents. Many charter schools form a partnership between the educators and families, so teachers have support from the parents at home
- Less bureaucracy than traditional schools, making it easier for teachers to simply teach
- Strict admission requirements for students
- If the parents of charter schools are unhappy with their child’s education, they can remove their student. If the school loses enough students, they may lose their charter and have to close
- Newer charter schools may not have the best resources and equipment
- Newer teachers may struggle to find the right way to teach in the classroom without state and local mandates for curriculum and lesson plans
Depending on the mission of the charter school, teachers may choose professional development in areas like classroom management, teaching non-English speakers, or teaching students with special needs.
Other types of professional development may include increasing knowledge of cognitively guided instruction, close reading, and instructional coaching.
Charter school teachers may pursue a Master’s Degree or an Ed.D to increase their pay or become a charter school administrator.
Networking with other charter school teachers can be invaluable for teachers, as there are opportunities to learn and develop connections to compare ideas for classroom instruction. Here are some associations that charter school teachers may wish to explore:
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools advocate for charter school and educational management techniques.
- National Association of Charter School Authorizers is an independent voice to advocate for charter schools and teachers.
- National Education Association is the leading advocating body for all educators.