A little-known profession in the field of mathematics is the math educator. Math enthusiasts who aren’t interested in a traditional role as an elementary or secondary school teacher will find this career path intriguing, especially if they’re also interested in the field of education.
The Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) defines the mathematics teacher educator as “educators who provide formal instruction or conduct research and development for educating prospective and practicing teachers.” In other words, math educators invest their abilities and skills in building a solid foundation for mathematics instruction through research and development of their discipline. Then they apply this information to the field of math education in practical ways by formally educating emerging and practicing teachers. Ultimately, they inform teacher curriculum, standards, and methods for teacher education.
Teacher educators, such as math educators:
- Provide rising and current teachers with the latest information and methods in their field
- Inform teacher curriculum.
- Provide continuing education.
- Help teachers continue as life-long learners, both in their discipline and in their teaching methods.
Without effective teacher educators, our educational system would become stagnant, uninformed, and – frankly – archaic. Cutting-edge research findings, innovative mathematical methods, and best practices for distributing new information invigorates teachers, classrooms, and our educational system.
What Does a Math Educator’s Typical Day Look Like?
Some mathematics educators work at universities and focus more on research for the purpose of furthering mathematics education. Additionally, they spend time teaching and training student teachers in their profession.
Others work with universities, schools, and government agencies to influence curriculum, programs, and teacher engagement. They serve as a bridge between mathematics research and its implementation in the classroom.
Depending on their specific niche within mathematics education, the typical workday varies among professionals.
Snapshot of a Day as Math Educator: Researcher and Teacher
After the morning commute to the university, the mathematics teacher educator briefly enters their office before rushing off to train a classroom of student teachers. If they don’t have a morning class, they’ll make their way to the campus research lab to continue an ongoing project.
At some point in the day, they’ll likely hold office hours. During office hours, they plan coursework and training agendas for student teachers, grade assignments, and prepare recommendations for current students. As a teacher and mentor, they frequently keep appointments during office hours to provide students with support and guidance.
Their calendars tend to be full of appointments, including evaluating student teachers in a local classroom and attending regular university department meetings for mathematics and education. They may also provide consulting services for local or regional universities, schools, or government departments.
A math educator travels several times a year to seminars, conferences, and other events related to mathematics and education. They may present or speak at some of these events.
As a salaried employee of the university, work hours. As with most teachers, they frequently continue working into the evening, reviewing student assignments, planning coursework, and continuing research.
- Salary: Mathematics teacher educators employed at a university or college typically earn a median wage similar to the median salary of a post-secondary teacher, which is $78,470 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). However, outside consulting or payment for seminar engagements garners additional income.
- Job Outlook: The projected growth rate for professionals in this field is 15%, by 2026, which is much faster than the average of 7% for all professions.
Snapshot of a Day as a Math Educator: Program Implementor and Mentor
This math educator may begin their day planning and developing curriculum for math education and then dive into reviewing mathematics textbooks and other educational materials. At some point in the day, they may observe a teacher in the classroom. While at this location, they may discuss ways to implement updated content or new curriculum standards with the school staff.
Back in their office, they begin analyzing student test data to evaluate the effectiveness of curriculums and teaching techniques. They may recommend curriculum changes and the use of different teaching techniques or technologies.
On a teacher workday or other scheduled time, they may conduct teacher training workshops or conferences for various schools. They may also travel outside of their usual scope several times per year to conduct or attend seminars, training events, and conferences.
- Salary: A mathematics teacher educator employed as an implementor and mentor in the above capacity earns a median salary similar to the median salary of instructional coordinators, which is $64,450 per year, according to the BLS.
- Job Outlook: The projected growth rate for teacher educators in this field is 11% by 2026.
Become a Math Educator
To become a math educator, you’ll need an extensive education in mathematics and a background in education. With an online Master of Science in Mathematics degree, you’ll learn a range of advanced mathematical concepts, including abstract algebra, statistics, and calculus, which will provide a well-rounded education. Shawnee State University’s fully online program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals, including licensed educators. As an online student enrolled in the online master’s in mathematics, you will experience individualized attention throughout your educational experience with one-on-one assistance from your professors. Plus, our accelerated program can be completed in as little as 27 months.