A career teaching, or just a few years is not for everyone. Classroom teacher duties at school are a full or part time challenging role with a lot of learning and preparation outside of classroom contact time. A number of people realise or are told during initial teacher training than they are not suitable for the teaching profession.
You are not just teaching, think about parent contact, paperwork, marking, cover lessons, keeping up with your subject and changes in the curriculum every 2-3 years.
Choosing a teaching career can be rewarding during training and as a fully qualified teacher at a school. There are a number of ways to enter the teaching profession from work based experience & assessment and through the postgraduate teacher training route for people with an undergraduate degree, such as primary or secondary PGCE.
Effective teacher duties at school
Continuing your training to become a good effective classroom teacher generally takes patience, practice and guidance from experienced teachers that guide you, and provide feedback during your teacher training year. The first 12 months post teaching qualification is known in England as Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).
Up until now is the easy part. Expectations from parents, head of department and head teacher greatly increase in the 2nd, 3rd….years.
Classroom teaching today also takes more patience, support, teaching skills & ideas to teach effectively for nursery, primary and secondary school teaching to deliver good quality teaching & learning for pupils to gain good grades.
Preparation for lessons and assessments
Duties as a teacher & responsibilities extend to being well prepared with a number of lesson ideas and being ready to change lessons to suit pupils learning styles. Walking into school in the morning having prepared all lessons for the day before the pupils arrive.
Do not become of the teachers arriving at school 10 minutes before tutor time trying to photo copy worksheets for the day’s lessons.
You also enable pupils to advance their subject knowledge which takes time and patience, part of being an effective school classroom teacher.
School classroom duties as a teacher are not just about knowledge, but how you form everyday relationships with pupils, this is a very important part of teaching.
A job teaching from the first year (Induction year) at classroom level will be around 75-80% time table of lessons, and a full timetable of lessons from year two. More senior positions that include a head of year role or important position as subject area head of department require experience and successful effective teaching in the classroom.
Teaching skills, ideas, and approaches are developed during teaching practice and for the first few years of teaching.
Management of learning during lessons
As a classroom teacher at a school you are expected to contribute in a positive way to raising standards: collaborating with colleagues, sharing expertise and learning from practice and others. Positive management of learning involves attempting to create happy and excited learners through the creation of a stimulating learning environment.
Providing pupils opportunities to investigate, explore physically, morally, intellectually leading pupils to become more effective learners and become more socially & morally responsible as they progress through the school years.
As a school teacher you will develop the way you teach although every teacher has there own method of teaching & delivery. Essentially, your teaching style is characterised by the teacher’s own personality, background, training and required standard expected of all teachers in the management of learning process.
Lesson plans prepared in advance for all lessons. Each plan for learning should be in sufficient detail that a cover teacher can use to deliver the same lesson, including lesson outcomes.
Classroom teachers in schools should be well organised ensuring the room/area is arranged appropriately for the lesson and relevant resources are tidily and safely arranged.
Utilise a variety of methods, materials, teaching aids to motivate student learning and sustain attention.
Class register (Fun starts here, as the children have arrived)
When and how you take an accurate register within the first few minutes, following school policy is something you as a teacher will have to consult on or adopt your own practice.
How can you deliver a lesson starter as students arrive and take an accurate class attendance register at the same time.
Luckily starter lessons were adopted in one school I taught at. I completed the attendance register at the same time as the starter, effectively multi tasking.
A teacher should have a lesson starter ready for pupils when arriving at lesson, (If your school uses them). The following is an example format before a mathematics lesson:
Previous maths starters I have given in 11-16 year old lessons have ranged from basic numbers to anagrams in mathematics groups.
Maths starters using mental maths in conjunction with individual wipe boards are good to assess and receive a response from individual students.
Each starter should not last any longer than 10 minutes and individual mathematical starters should be started when students are just settled in the classroom.
Starters should not be part of a lesson, as they are supposed to be a warm up activity given by the teachers taking the class.
The following are ideas based around maths starters, although you require the actual content or exercise for each:
- Mental mathematical starters on the board, say 10 questions
- Jumbled words or numbers
- Class brainstorm
- Maths or picture display that could be a puzzle or diagram. What is it? How does it fit, or how to calculate the total
- Maths words used in lesson topics so far in a term
- Keywords on whiteboards or the board, and students state the definition
- Maths anagrams on vocabulary from previous lessons
- One word/sentence or numbers, and students make up a question based upon previous learning
- Maths with a cryptic clue
- Practical maths starters based around an activity such as puzzles or cards
Maths starters in mathematics lessons can be a range of numerical, interactive exercises that intend to get students engaged and thinking within a minute of entering a classroom. Each age range and level should be given appropriate starters, although it is possible that not all students can complete exercises.
Start the lesson
Once a lesson starter has finished begin lessons positively informing pupils in writing of the lesson topic, aims and objectives. Always explain clearly how the lesson topic follows on from prior learning.
- During lessons make good use of time and ensure that pace is maintained. Set timed targets for pupil activities and your teaching. Have balance between explanation, practice and class exercises. As a teacher you are looking to ensure learning is broken down into achievable targets.
- Actively involve pupils by using their own prior knowledge, experiences, interests or questions as starting points or examples. Set learning in the context of real life situations.
- Include a variety of experiences such as discussing listening and responding with teachers and other students, reflecting, drafting, reading and writing.
- School pupils always expect clear instructions and teachers must check student learning & understanding. Continually check what knowledge, skills and concepts students have, or have misunderstood through question and answering as a form of assessment.
Have a structured orderly conclusion to the lesson. Review, recall and re-connect to what has been taught before and what the next lesson topic will be.
Effective management of learning as part of school classroom teacher duties is the vital part of the process. Planning lessons, developing resources and schemes of work are all parts of delivering learning that is appropriate for each lesson.
Assessment of learning
Another set of responsibilities of teachers in school is to follow school policy on assessment and specifically a document assessing pupil progress that is vital where by students and teachers gain insight into learning and achievement that has taken place. Assessment processes require to be standardised throughout the school.
Assessing pupil progress enables teachers to:
- Focus on what a student can or cannot do, diagnostic assessment
- Find out what pupils have learned about a topic and fill in any gaps in learning
- Decide what a student needs to do next, formative assessment
- Compile test and examination reports for school pupils and evaluative assessment for possible further learning to take place
Assessment enables students to:
- Know how well students are achieving in relation to students of similar age and ability
- How fast students are progressing
- Know students strengths and weaknesses
- Set targets using reliable information from assessment
Classroom teachers prepare pupils for tests and examinations and through assessment at each test, examination further assessment can take place when required.
Assessing pupil progress and recording assessment grades is important which involves selecting & retaining accurate records, which shows what is significant in learning, involving informing others about the learning that has taken place.
Parents and students are mostly interested in assessment grades, and of course assessment grades are used for teacher advancement or possible further assessment.
Good grades keep a teacher in their position, poor pupils grades can lead to a classroom teacher being assessed on their teaching performance formally by a head teacher, with a view to dismissal.
Duties of classroom teachers also includes following school policy that usually has an assessment policy in place for a teacher to follow to set and record pupil targets. This is an important element of pupil & school improvement and ultimately assessment.
- Enable pupils to see how well they understand a subject and set personal targets for further learning
- Provide all pupils the opportunity to be successful in tests and their summative and formative examination assessments
- Assessment measures progress by tracking students’ progress
- Assessment ensures that there is a comprehensive and coherent system of formative assessment in place including personal, social and emotional assessments
- Gives pupils written guidance on how well they have done and also provides feedback
Good assessment practice
- Assessment should be included in classroom activities for all lessons in some way and appropriate for the lesson and learners ability
- Should clearly check progress of pupils leaning thus far of a subject topic
- Assessment allows for unexpected as well as intended outcomes and shows strengths and identifies weaknesses of a pupils understanding of a subject
- Informs about individual progress through assessment methods
- Tracks performance of students over time and trends in subject performance
The assessment process is firstly the responsibility of the classroom teacher in conjunction with the head of department and the senior leadership team.
Collaborative assessment ensures that there is an appropriate and coherent system of assessment, marking, recording, reporting and target setting in place.
Responsibility for the assessment policy and examination entry is delegated to a senior member of staff who is also responsible for data analysis and students’ achievement. All staff and teachers are responsible for assessment through assessing the pupils in their lessons.
Differences between teachers
Nursery, primary & secondary school teaching is different. Why? Teacher training, legal requirements of a professional person, teacher duties and teaching styles are different. Each learning environment has its own place.
Every teacher starts as a newly qualified classroom teacher, except people on fast track to management/head teacher and can rise to head teacher or principle within 9-12 years.
Positions teaching as a head of year, head of sixth form, deputy head teacher, head of department and deputy head of department. These are also positions of responsibility that report to the head teacher on a daily basis.