A geography teacher helps students learn about the Earth and its features and how these relate to its inhabitants. You will be teaching young minds not only about the physical problems and issues of the land but you will also be sharing your knowledge about the processes that led to the formation of the human society. You will be developing lesson plans so you can present lessons to your students in an engaging manner as well as planning and supervising field trips to show examples of geography in the real world.
As a geography teacher, you will need to be patient. Not all students enjoy this subject area so it is up to you to make your lessons interesting. Having effective communication skills is also a must. Like all teachers, you also need to develop the ability to simplify information so that your students will be able to readily understand them.
One reason to choose this career path is the sense of fulfillment the profession gives. Being in a position to influence young minds about their future and how they view the Earth and its people is a noble calling and one that geography teachers take seriously. As far as practicality is concerned, geography teachers stand to gain job tenure inasmuch as most states have put in place tenure laws that provide security to those who have taught after a set number of years.
Geography Teacher Work Environment
Geography teachers can teach in both public and private schools. Depending on the size of the school, they may handle large or small classes. If the school has a good budget then the geography teacher may have all the necessary resources and technologies at her disposal to aid in student learning. However, if the school is located in a poor area then the teacher may have to rely on her own ingenuity and creativity to enhance the learning of her students. The job can be frustrating if students do poorly on standardized tests as this will always reflect on the performance of the teacher. Finally, the work of a teacher does not end after official teaching hours as she will have to prepare for the next day’s lesson and/or meet parents, students and other teachers to discuss various concerns.
Geography Teacher Salary
The mean annual wage of secondary school teachers, including geography teachers, for May 2013 was pegged at $58,260, according to the Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This compared with postsecondary geography teachers who received $73,980.
Geography Teacher Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2012 that the employment of high school teachers, geography teachers included, from 2012 to 2022 is expected to increase only by 6 percent, a rate that is slower than the average for all job types. An increase in enrollment among high school students, the demand for lower student-teacher ratios and retirement of older teachers will contribute to the demand for geography teachers. However, the need will vary by region, with more demand for high school teachers seen in the South and West than in the Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the United States.
Geography Teacher Degree
High school geography teachers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in geography as well as complete a teacher education program. Those who teach geography in college must at least have a master’s degree. Geography teachers who wish to teach in public high schools must hold a license in the state where they teach. Those who intend to teach in private schools, universities and colleges don’t have to be licensed.