Being a teacher takes patience, creativity, empathy, endurance, organization and communication skills. In addition to instruction, teachers create lesson plans, manage a classroom, communicate with parents, prepare students for standardized tests and stay up-to-date about teaching trends and technology. Some teachers specialize in a content area (e.g., math, history) and some are generalists.

Gaining experience

In addition to any mandatory teaching certification required by the state, teachers should take classes to learn about educational practices and have demonstrated experience student teaching in a classroom. Princeton University offers the Program in Teacher Preparation to prepare students for careers in education. 

Hiring process and timeline

The peak season for recruitment in school settings is the spring, with most schools looking to hire new teachers and staff before the next school year begins. The exception to this are education-related, post-graduation service fellowship programs, some of which have much earlier application deadlines in the summer or early fall for graduating seniors, including the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. For non-teaching roles, most organizations hire as jobs become available.


    Examples of job titles and roles
    • Grade-level or subject-specific teacher
    • Special education teacher
    • English as a second language (ESL) teacher
    • Private tutor
    • Principal
    • Superintendent
    Professional organizations and associations

    Professional organizations and associations are membership-based groups comprised of people working in a similar field. They can be helpful resources for students to learn more about a field, develop connections and discover related opportunities. You can search for related organizations and associations using a database provided by the Princeton University Library.

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    Princeton Alumni

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