No age range sees quite as much growth, development, and changes in personality as elementary-age children. As such, you can imagine just how much elementary teachers have to manage to provide their students with the solid foundations of learning and development.

Everything from learning to read and write to making friends and discovering how to work with others starts here. So it’s no surprise that the average elementary school teacher works far beyond the typical 8-3 day.

Among other things, elementary school teachers work alongside parents to get children enthusiastic about learning for the first time. Anything from behavior to social skills to fine motor movement is carefully monitored and developed under their watchful eye. But what sets an elementary school teacher apart from their fellow educators in middle and high school?

Read on for ten distinct facts about elementary teachers that will help you appreciate all they do for you, and for your little ones:

1. Elementary school teachers never stop communicating with parents.

In comparison to educators with older children, parents and educators of elementary school children need to have open and active communication. That’s why at least 15 minutes per day is spent on average talking with parents over email, phone and through special meetings, according to a 2012 study. That’s not even mentioning all the time spent getting to know and chatting with guardians and parents at the beginning and end of the school day, too.

2. Homework isn’t the main priority for elementary school teachers.

While older students are definitely in need of the extra structured learning, simply spending time with young children is vital for their development; and play is a part of that. Many children at elementary-age learn far more from time spent socializing and learning innate skills than going over workbooks or homework sheets at home.

3. Elementary teachers don’t get summer off.

Any teacher that wants to succeed with their students in the coming year will be spending that time wisely. Whether it’s learning new materials or techniques or keeping up with a changing curriculum, the summer is anything but a holiday. During the school year, 50+ hours of work is normal for the average elementary teacher, meaning very few breaks year-round.

4. We go above and beyond for our students.

This might mean stating our case for a child having extra support if we see they are falling behind. It may also be providing actual monetary support to children from low-income families. As much as 65% of educators have helped pay for food or field trip costs for young students.

5. More than 70% of Americans have trust and confidence in our ability to support our students.

Much of that percentage includes elementary school teachers, who have the tough job of ensuring children thrive from a young age. Anything from behavior to social skills to movement is vital parts of our role.

6. Multiple pieces of research have found that effective teachers in a child’s formative years can make all the difference to their success in life.

With some studies reporting as much as a 20x increase, it’s clear that elementary teachers can have a huge impact on their student’s lives.

7. In elementary-age school environments, male teachers make up 20% of the total teacher population according to MenTeach.

This means an incredible 80% of elementary school teachers are female; though this number does seem to be changing over time. For students, this means greater diversity in their teachers in the future.

8. Not all of our job involves teaching.

In fact, in the majority of schools, a great deal of time is taken up in meetings. As well as all the time spent outside school creating lesson plans, presentations, class materials, and more. There’s far more to your average elementary school teacher than meets the eye.

9. Involved, engaged parents can massively improve the learning and behavior of elementary school students.

That’s why, as teachers, any support we can get from parents is massively appreciated. By reading with, playing with and engaging with your child’s education, we can help them succeed more effectively – and be happier overall.

10. The most common reason for elementary school teachers switching career is the low salary.

With the majority of educators required to spend their own money on their classroom while living below to average living wage for many metropolitan areas of the US. However, those who choose to stay in their jobs do so because of how rewarding teaching elementary students can be.

What interesting facts do you know about elementary school teachers?