A career teaching or for 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.
Duties and responsibilities of a teacher means you are not just teaching think about parent contact, paperwork, marking, cover lessons, keeping up with the subject you teach and changes in the curriculum every 2-3 years.
Teacher duties in schools
A school teacher is a learning facilitator where they pass on knowledge and skills to students in a lesson. Educators help pupils learn about different subjects and topic areas, such as history, physical education, computing and mathematics.
Key to teaching is providing effective learning to students who learn at a different pace and through various learning styles, while challenging them to become more knowledgeable.
Further, who is a good teacher? A person that helps students in classroom lessons and around school to become the best they can be.
What are the general functions of a teacher in primary, nursery, secondary school?
Main responsibilities of classroom school teachers:
- Learning facilitator, mentor and mediator is the main duty of teachers. Give lessons in classrooms, field work and topic based school trips
- Help students achieve the best possible grade in the subject, through theory learning and practical class exercises
- Plan lessons on subject topics following the curriculum for the subject area
- Good role model
- Show empathy, respect, understanding, although strict in a teachers actions and instructions
- Follow educational guidelines, school polices and procedures while respecting every pupils rights
- Keep and monitor records on attendance, class/course/home work
- Provide lessons and time where each student can use they’re own learning style, creativity and where a teacher gives time for independent problem solving after a teacher’s instructions
- Enhance pupil’s emotional and social intelligence around the school, which means providing reassurance, support for good work and deeds at school outside of the classroom
- Plan lessons, set & mark student’s coursework set assignments and homework
- Parent evenings and other contact when required while providing feedback on a student’s progress in lessons
- Correct inappropriate behaviour of students in class and around school
- School duty: Playground supervisor, hall monitor, bus duty
- Provide a safe learning environment
School teacher professional duties
To ensure that students are provided with a consistently high standard of teaching classroom teachers are expected to have and show the following knowledge, skills and competencies as part of school teacher professional duties.
- Relevant aspects of the curriculum, examinations, syllabus and schemes of work.
- Very good depth of knowledge of the subject they’re teaching.
- Build you’re knowledge continually in the specialist subject.
- Be able to answer questions from students and awareness of common misconceptions and mistakes in the specialist subject.
Identify clear teaching objectives, content, lesson structure and sequences appropriate to the subject to students in each class.
- Set appropriate, demanding, expectations and targets for student learning & behaviour, building on student’s prior attainment.
- Look out for students that are struggling academically and emotionally at school.
Teaching & managing student learning
- Ensure effective classroom teaching, groups and individuals to ensure that teaching objectives are met, and best use is made of teaching time.
- Use of appropriate teaching methods which keep students engaged, including simulating students’ intellectual curiosity, effective questioning & response, clear presentation and good use of resources available.
- Establish & maintain a good standard of discipline through well focused & structured teaching coupled with positive productive relationship building.
- Enforce school rules and code.
Assessment and evaluation
- Evaluate how well learning objectives have been achieved and use this assessment for future planning & assessment.
- Mark students’ class and set homework, keeping accurate records, ensuring positive constructive written or oral feedback is given.
- Set, mark and moderate examination and test papers.
Develop strategies to secure progress towards students’ targets and celebrate student achievement.
Relations with parents and wider community
- Prepare & provide informative school and student reports to parents.
- Recognise that learning takes place outside the school in a different context and provide opportunities to develop students’ understanding by relating their learning to real & work related examples.
- Regularly update the school management system to enable parents, teachers and management to access up to date information about they’re children.
Managing you’re own performance & development
- Take responsibility for you’re own professional development and keep up to date with development in pedagogy, teaching & learning strategies, subject you teach.
- Follow you’re professional responsibilities in relation to school policies, professional role and practices.
- Set a good example to the students you teach through your presentation, teaching and personal conduct.
- Evaluate your own teaching critically and use this to improve your effectiveness in the classroom.
Managing & developing department and school employees
- Establish effective working relationships with colleagues.
- Take part in coaching, mentoring and providing in service training.
- Managing team meetings: setting the agenda, circulating minutes and following up agreed action.
- Communicating decisions of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to team and department members.
- Manage reviews of schemes of work and team planning.
- Prepare reports as required by the principal and SLT.
- Observe the work of team members as part of performance review.
Managing school resources
- Use school teaching & learning materials and recourses as appropriate for class lessons.
* Any other relevant duties as requested by senior leadership team.
The school teacher professional duties is a guide only and many school teaching duties & expectations change by country, type of school or age range of study.
Multiple roles of a teacher in school and community
Head’s of department at school have multiple roles as a teacher, not only giving and issuing responsibilities to class teachers, but additional administration and educational tasks to be completed on a daily basis.
Position of curriculum specialist/leader at school departments means setting teacher targets, monitoring teacher and class/pupil performance throughout the year.
Head teachers and assistants play a senior role at school setting targets, following department of education rules, guidelines and to achieve targets set. School principles and head teachers are a main contact with parents, external agencies and the education department in addition to running a school proficiently.
Each school age group will have different or additional duties for teachers from nursery, secondary and primary school teaching duties.
Roles, responsibilities & student duties in school
- Arrive on time to school and lessons
- Respect other students, teachers and people working at the school
- Respect & adhere to school rules and policies
- Helpful to others
- Dress appropriately and in the school uniform
- Follow strict discipline and behaviour polices set by the teachers & school
- Comply with instructions from teachers and other school staff
- Class & homework set by a teacher should be completed (If possible) and on time
- Make an effort by learning in class and other school activities
Effective teacher duties at school
Continuing you’re training to become a good effective classroom teacher generally takes patience, practice & guidance from experienced teachers that guide you and provide feedback during a teacher’s 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 of a teacher from parents, head of department and head teacher greatly increase in the 2nd, 3rd….years of a teaching career.
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 school 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 pupils arrive.
Do not become one 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 they’re 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 and building a long lasting rapport with students or other teachers.
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 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 classroom 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’ll develop the way you teach although every teacher has they’re own method of teaching & delivery. Essentially, you’re 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.
School class learning environments for students
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.
Take a student class register
(Fun starts here, as the children have arrived in you’re lesson)
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? Not many schools instruct teachers to use lesson starters to warm up students for the lesson.
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.
Classroom lesson starters (If used)
A teacher should have a lesson starter ready for pupils when arriving at lesson, (If the 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.
Teacher starts the school lesson giving clear instructions
Once a lesson starter has finished begin lessons positively informing pupils in writing of the lesson topic, aims and objectives on the board/screen or verbally. 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 they’re 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.
Lesson plenary to summaries a lesson by teachers
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.
Student assessment of learning in school lessons
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 they’re 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 by teachers
- 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
Teachers assessment responsibility
The assessment process is firstly the responsibility of the classroom school 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 school teachers at each age range
Nursery teaching, 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.