Last Updated on 02/09/2023 by James Barron
This document delves into the multifaceted roles and responsibilities of teachers in the context of education and training. Teachers are central to the academic, emotional, social, and physical growth of learners. Their primary duty involves imparting knowledge, but they also wear numerous other hats, including curriculum designers, evaluators, mentors, and administrators. Pre-class duties emphasise the critical importance of health and safety, underscored by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Additionally, teachers function as tutors, offering guidance and addressing behavioural issues, while also playing administrative roles like the learning coordinator to ensure smooth operational functions within educational establishments. This comprehensive exploration underscores the teacher’s pivotal position in moulding learners and emphasises the breadth of their responsibilities, affirming the indispensable nature of their profession in the educational landscape. Two key references, Gould & Roffey-Barentsen (2014) and Maslow (1954), provide foundational support to the presented content.
A teacher’s roles and responsibilities in education and training are multifaceted and essential to the development of learners. Primarily, a teacher is entrusted with the task of imparting knowledge and fostering critical thinking, ensuring that learners grasp and internalise concepts effectively. They design and implement curriculum, craft lesson plans tailored to diverse learning styles, and continuously assess and provide feedback on students’ progress, both informally and through structured evaluations. Beyond the classroom, they uphold the duty to provide a safe and inclusive environment that respects the diverse backgrounds, abilities, and needs of all students. Moreover, a teacher collaborates with colleagues, parents, and other stakeholders to support students’ holistic development. This encompasses not only academic growth but also emotional, social, and physical well-being. Additionally, they engage in continuous professional development to stay updated with pedagogical advancements and industry best practices. Their role, while rooted in education, extends to mentorship, counselling, and even administrative tasks, making them pivotal pillars in the edifice of education and training.
My primary role is as a lecturer in which my fundamental responsibility is to impart knowledge to my students. Along with this responsibility I also must assess student work within class to ensure students are learning and on the right track but also summative assessment that will go towards the student’s final mark.
Pre-Class Responsibilities and Safeguarding
“Being a teacher involves much more than the ‘core’ role” (Gould & Roffey-Barentsen, 2014, p. 3) with many of aspects that are essential often before the class even begins, health and safety is of the utmost importance when teaching a class. According to the Hierarchy of Needs Maslow (Maslow, 1954), safety and security are the second most important aspect that could prevent a person from achieving their goals. Other responsibilities include equality and diversity, and safeguarding requirements. It is also essential that a selection of administration tasks is completed to ensure student safety and progress. The class register is an example of this and ensures that students are in class and can be accounted for in the event of a fire, this forms legal documentation and will be used as evidence for student funding.
Role of the Tutor
While my primary role is as a teacher, “a good proportion of the working day is spent on other pursuits” (Gould & Roffey-Barentsen, 2014, p. 3) such as tutor, which has many pastoral responsibilities, including providing support, guidance, advice and mentoring, this could in the form of a 1-1 or group sessions. Tutors are an important role within any teaching establishment as they provide the first point of contact for students to discuss a variety of subjects beyond and including the taught material. Tutors are also responsible for providing guidance from the teaching establishment on many areas, such as safeguarding, funding etc. In addition to these pastoral responsibilities a tutor will also handle lateness and behaviour problems.
The Learning Coordinator
Another important role is the learning coordinator role, the learning coordinator responsibilities involve coordinating with all members of staff within the department to organise the timetable, assessment plans, assessments and many other administrative tasks. This is essential for any teaching establishment as without this role the organisation would not function efficiently, staff and students would not know which rooms were available at what times, etc.
In essence, a teacher’s role in education and training goes far beyond the traditional confines of imparting knowledge. Their duties encompass a blend of academic instruction, mentorship, administrative tasks, and continuous personal growth. The multifaceted nature of their responsibilities underscores the profound impact teachers have on learners’ holistic development. As they navigate the complexities of diverse learning needs and classroom dynamics, their role stands as a testament to their unwavering commitment to shaping minds and futures. The intricate tapestry of tasks and responsibilities that they shoulder reaffirms the significance and indispensability of teachers in the realm of education and training.
Gould, J. & Roffey-Barentsen, J., 2014. Achieving your diploma in education and training. 1st ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Maslow, A. H., 1954. Motivation and Personality. New York: s.n.
The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker J. Palmer
Palmer offers an introspective look into the emotional and spiritual aspects of teaching, providing insights into the teacher’s integral role in shaping students’ lives.
Teach Like a Champion 3.0 by Doug Lemov
This book gives concrete techniques that teachers can use in the classroom, highlighting the depth and range of their responsibilities.
The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom by Stephen D. Brookfield
Brookfield delves into the intricacies of classroom dynamics, the importance of continuous learning for teachers, and effective teaching methods based on years of research and experience.
Primarily aimed at higher education faculty, this website provides articles and resources on effective teaching strategies, faculty development, and the challenges and joys of being an educator.
Website URL: https://www.facultyfocus.com/
The Teacher Toolkit
A hands-on resource providing practical strategies and tools for educators to enhance their teaching, emphasising the multifaceted role of teachers in the classroom.
Website URL: http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/
The Teaching Channel offers a vibrant online community for teachers, providing videos, resources, and lesson plans tailored for educators. It captures real classrooms in action, promoting best practices in teaching and offering innovative methods to engage students. The site is an excellent resource for educators looking to expand their repertoire and understand the depths of their roles in the classroom.
Website URL: https://www.teachingchannel.com/
How do teachers adapt their teaching styles to cater to diverse learners, including those with special needs?
Teachers adapt their teaching styles for diverse learners by employing differentiated instruction, which tailors’ content, process, and product based on students’ readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles. They integrate assistive technologies and specialised resources to support students with special needs, ensuring accessibility and comprehension. Collaborating with special education professionals and continuous professional development further enables teachers to employ strategies that cater to each student’s unique requirements, thereby promoting an inclusive learning environment.
How has the role of a teacher evolved over the past few decades with the advent of technology and e-learning?
Over the past few decades, the role of a teacher has transformed significantly due to the integration of technology and e-learning. Previously centred on traditional classroom instruction, teachers now function as facilitators, guiding students through a blend of face-to-face and digital learning experiences. The advent of e-learning platforms and digital tools has enabled teachers to offer personalized and adaptive learning experiences, reaching students beyond geographical constraints. Furthermore, with the increasing importance of digital literacy, teachers have had to stay updated with the latest tech advancements, integrating them into their pedagogy and often participating in continuous professional development to ensure efficacy in this blended teaching environment.
What are the challenges faced by educators in maintaining a balance between administrative responsibilities and classroom teaching?
Educators often grapple with the challenge of balancing administrative tasks with their primary role of classroom teaching. Firstly, the increasing paperwork, such as lesson planning, grading, reporting, and documenting student behaviour, can be time-consuming, potentially detracting from classroom preparation and student engagement. Secondly, meetings, trainings, and institutional duties can cut into time otherwise dedicated to direct student instruction or feedback. Furthermore, the pressure to meet institutional targets, standards, and benchmarks can sometimes prioritise administrative compliance over innovative and student-centred teaching. Without efficient time management and institutional support, these administrative demands can lead to teacher burnout and a diminished quality of classroom instruction.
How do teachers handle conflicts among students or address issues like bullying in the classroom?
Teachers proactively establish clear classroom rules and expectations that promote respect and deter negative behaviours. When conflicts arise, they mediate through problem-solving discussions, emphasising understanding and resolution, and collaborate with school counsellors or parents for more severe issues. Additionally, they implement and reinforce anti-bullying programs, educating students about empathy and bystander intervention.
What are some common misconceptions about the teaching profession and how do they impact the perceptions of the role?
Some common misconceptions about the teaching profession include the belief that teaching is an “easy” job with short hours, the notion that teachers get “long holidays” without recognising the planning and training that often occurs during breaks, and the idea that anyone can teach if they know a subject well. These misconceptions can devalue the profession, leading to reduced respect for educators and undermining the complexity and importance of their role. Such perceptions can also influence policy decisions, compensation, and professional development opportunities, ultimately affecting teacher morale, recruitment, and retention.
How do educators keep themselves motivated and passionate about teaching in the face of increasing responsibilities and challenges?
Educators stay motivated by continuously learning and updating their skills, ensuring they remain engaged and inspired. They lean on peer support and mentorship to share challenges and celebrate successes, fostering a sense of community. Through regular reflection on their impact and achievements, teachers reaffirm their commitment and passion for nurturing their students.
How do teachers ensure they remain up-to-date with changes in curriculum, education standards, or educational policy?
Teachers frequently attend professional development workshops and training sessions tailored to new curriculum or policy updates. They actively engage in educational communities, forums, and associations to exchange insights and stay informed. Additionally, they collaborate with colleagues and school administrators, ensuring consistent understanding and implementation of the latest standards and policies.
How do personal biases, beliefs, or values of teachers impact their teaching methods, and how can they ensure objectivity in the classroom?
Personal biases, beliefs, or values can unconsciously influence a teacher’s interactions, expectations, and assessments of students, potentially leading to inequities in the classroom. These biases may affect the content teachers choose to present and how they engage with diverse student perspectives. To ensure objectivity, teachers need to engage in regular self-reflection, seek feedback from peers and students, and undergo training in cultural competency and unbiased pedagogical practices.
What are the strategies used by educators to foster a growth mindset in students, encouraging resilience and lifelong learning?
Educators promote a growth mindset by praising students’ efforts and strategies over innate abilities, highlighting that intelligence and skills can be developed with practice. They frame challenges and mistakes as valuable learning opportunities, emphasising the importance of perseverance. Additionally, teachers provide actionable feedback and model a love for learning, demonstrating that continuous growth is both achievable and rewarding.
How do teachers build relationships with parents and guardians to ensure a holistic development approach for each student?
Teachers proactively communicate with parents and guardians through regular updates, parent-teacher conferences, and open-door policies, establishing a partnership based on mutual trust and respect. They actively seek input from parents regarding their child’s strengths, challenges, and interests to tailor their teaching approach. By fostering this collaboration, educators ensure a consistent and supportive environment for students both at school and at home.
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.
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