The recession has been a great challenge for workers in Las Vegas. The Research and Analysis Bureau of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation created a list of the top 100 in-demand jobs in Nevada, and elementary school teacher was at the top of the list. With a median wage of $52,590.00 per year, a career in teaching can be rewarding, both financially and professionally.

(Photo Courtesy of Alison Clark)

(Photo Courtesy of Alison Clark)

Alison Clark is a school psychologist for the Clark County School District. She spends her days as part of a team evaluating students with potential educational disabilities. Once a student has been evaluated, she helps the team and the student’s teachers create a plan to address the academic, emotional, behavioral and intellectual needs of the student. She also helps coach teachers and staff on classroom management, behavior modification and support.

Why did you decide to get into education? 

“I had a tumultuous life as a child and decided that I would be a lifeline for other children when I grew up. After getting my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I decided that working in schools would be the best way to help needy children. Not all children have access to clinical care, but nearly all kids go to school. I wanted to reach as many children in need as possible.”

What is biggest challenge you see for teachers in the classroom?

“Behavior management, is hands down, the biggest challenge for teachers. Teachers cannot teach if disruptions are occurring in the classroom, and interrupting the lesson. All teachers need to address behavior in the classroom and use a positive approach when disciplining students. Unfortunately, teachers are really only given behavior management training in first grade. Teachers that are able to foster positive relationships with their students will have a happier, more efficient classroom.”

What advice would you give to prospective teachers? 

“Consider teaching positions in areas with a great need like special education and math. Focus on the human factor of the classroom. Consider the environment students come from. Don’t assume that the children breaking the rules don’t know how to behave, they just need to be taught. Be open to change and seek out training to improve your skills. Be a life-long learner, over prepare, and organization is key. Remember why you are going into education, which should include helping children succeed.”

Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Christa has been a Las Vegas resident for more than 20 years. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at


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