What does a teacher do? (2023)

What is a Teacher?

A teacher doesn't only teach. They also inspire and encourage their students to be their best version of themselves. And this can have a tremendous impact on how students interact with others now, and in the future.

Whether teaching kindergarten, music, physical education or special education, a teacher is someone that students look up to, and aspire to be like. Some of our most influential and life-changing role models are teachers.

What does a Teacher do?

A day in the life of a teacher varies greatly, depending on the subject they teach and the age of their students. When teaching kindergarten or elementary students, teachers often cover a broad range of subjects. On the other hand, high school teachers will typically specialize in one particular subject, such as math, English, music, or science.

What does a teacher do? (1)

School is not only a place of academic learning, but of social learning as well. Teachers need to be effective communicators and motivators, as it is irrelevant how much knowledge a teacher has if that knowledge cannot be shared and conveyed to the students in an interesting and understandable way.

There are various types of teaching careers available, all with different duties and responsibilities:

Preschool Teacher
A preschool teacher is responsible for assisting toddlers (ages three to five years) to prepare for kindergarten. They help them with their social, motor, vocabulary, language, personal hygiene, and social skills through play, field trips, interactive activities, and games. Activities are often based off of music, art and crafts, dance, rhyming, storytelling, and play-acting. Preschool teachers also show their students how to maintain orderly conduct by teaching behavioural rules and boundaries.

Conducting both small-group lessons and one-on-one instruction allows the preschool teacher to tune into the different needs of each toddler as well as recognize even the smallest amount of progress made. There is a less structured approach to teaching at this level which encourages discussion and problem-solving from the children. Ultimately, this type of curriculum is designed to promote mental, social, and physical development.

Effective communication skills are extremely important, as children may be at different stages of learning. Creating an atmosphere where children can make their own discoveries and learn how to express themselves verbally, mentally, and physically is key to their growth and development.

Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten is the bridge between preschool and elementary school. A kindergarten teacher integrates young children into the world of learning and prepares them for elementary school by teaching them social skills, personal hygiene, basic reading skills, art, and music.

Kindergarten teachers may have children in their class that are experiencing school for the first time, as not all children go to preschool. Therefore, they will need to show them, and remind everyone, how to behave in the classroom and how to play nicely with others, whether it's in a group setting or doing artwork quietly on their own. The needs of each student will be different, so the teacher's methods of educating will have to be changed to meet those needs.

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A kindergarten teacher is responsible for planning the curriculum for each day and for the collective school year. Basic skills in reading and writing are taught by using hands-on lessons and creative play. Any instructions need to be very precise yet easy to understand. If a child has developmental or emotional problems, kindergarten teachers should be able to recognize this and help parents put together a plan of action to ensure their child is given the same educational opportunities as other children.

Elementary School Teacher
An elementary school teacher is a person trained to educate children from kindergarten through fifth grade. Some elementary schools also include grade six, while some private and rural public schools include seventh and eighth grades. They are responsible for the educational and emotional growth of children in a classroom setting, as well as managing the materials and resources used for educating them.

Kindergarten teachers - spend the day teaching children the basic skills of letter recognition, phonic learning, reading skills, proper social skills, and confidence. This is done through activities that are based off of music, art and crafts, dance, rhyming, storytelling, and play-acting.

First grade teachers - are a vital building block in a child's early development, as they strive to build confidence in each student. They use hands-on learning approaches as well as discussion groups in their classroom. They teach the core subjects of math, science, and english, as well as art, physical education, and music.

Second grade teachers - spend less time helping children become adjusted to standard school routines and start to expect more from students. They are responsible for further teaching of the aforementioned core subjects, as well as in positively shaping each student's behaviour and emotional well-being.

Third grade teachers - know that students at this stage are ready for a more diverse field of learning. In addition to math, reading, and english, students now move into the studies of social studies, science, and a higher level of physical education, art, and music.

Fourth grade teachers - are responsible for all the core learning subjects, however, the job becomes more complicated as students are more mature and need a strong, intuitive teacher that possesses excellent communication skills, patience, energy, and creativity to hold the attention of their class.

Fifth grade to eighth grade teachers - will need the same wealth of patience and communication skills as a fourth grade teacher. At this stage of learning, it is easier to recognize which students will need more attention than others. Getting to know each student is necessary to offer a solid learning experience to each one. Teachers at this level need to be firm, but kind.

High School Teacher
A high school teacher teaches academic, technical, vocational, or specialized subjects at public and private secondary schools, typically from grades 9-12. The subject taught could be science, language, mathematics, history, art, english, drama, or music.

In a typical high school, where there are rotations of five to six classes everyday, a teacher could potentially have more than one hundred different students to teach each and every day.

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A high school teacher can have a very fulfilling career by virtue of the responsibility they have to influence the future of young students. They play a key role in a student's outlook and career prospects. There are times when students are difficult to deal with, and teachers must exhibit a great deal of patience. However, this is overshadowed by the many wonderful student accomplishments that they are able to be a part of.

What does a teacher do? (2)

Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers work with children and youths who have a variety of disabilities. Children with special needs require unique instruction and encouragement to help them achieve their highest potential and strive to progress beyond their limitations. Special education teachers are patient, understanding educators dedicated to giving each individual student the tools and guidance needed to help them maximize success.

A small number of special education teachers work with students with severe cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities. Their job is primarily teaching them life skills and basic literacy. However, the majority of special education teachers work with children with mild to moderate disabilities, modifying the general education curriculum to meet the child's individual needs and providing required instruction. Most special education teachers instruct students at the preschool, elementary, middle, and secondary school level, although some work with infants and toddlers.

Teacher Assistant
A teacher assistant works under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction. They work in public and private schools, and for childcare centres. This career should not be confused with a graduate teaching assistant, who is a university graduate student serving in a support role for his/her professor.

Generally, teachers introduce new material to students, and teacher assistants help reinforce the lessons by working with individual students or small groups of students. For example, they may help students learn research skills by helping them find information for reports.

Physical Education Teacher
Physical education teachers, commonly known as Phys Ed or P.E. teachers, are responsible for the education of primary and secondary school students in physical activity. The physical education class was once little more than an organized recess; however, physical education teachers now engage students in much more than game play. Recent developments have steered the physical education curriculum towards the goal of overall wellness and teachers now incorporate health and nutrition topics into their classes.

After creating a lesson plan, a physical education teacher's responsibility is to motivate students to participate in prescribed activities. Teachers then evaluate the student's performance, attitude, and level of physical fitness.

Music Teacher
A music teacher teaches people how to play an instrument (for example the piano, guitar, or violin) or gives singing and voice lessons. Some music teachers work in schools from elementary to high school levels, and teach many students. These teachers are responsible for directing the school bands, choirs, and orchestras. They may also teach appreciation, theory, or composition classes to advanced students. Other music teachers give lessons on an individual basis, and may work out of their homes or from a music store as a private music teacher.

Additionally, a music teacher must evaluate and grade a student's performance, which often takes place by way of recitals and performances, and must give the students feedback on how to improve their skills.

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Art Teacher
Art teachers typically work in the school system teaching students how to paint, draw, create sculptures and ceramics, and learn photography. However, art teachers may also work privately, or at art centres. They educate their students about the creation of art, art history, as well as art theory. Most art teachers are practicing artists themselves who teach out of a passion for what they do and a desire to share it with their students.

An art teacher will look at the basics when teaching students: how to create art using various mediums; the types of structures/functions involved; the choice and evaluation of the content; the relationship of art to different cultures and the past; the assessment of works of art; and the relationship between art and other disciplines.

Health Educator
Health educators teach people how to incorporate positive and healthy habits into their lives. They develop programs and materials that promote wellness, and encourage children and adults to make healthy decisions. Health educators work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, non-profit organizations, government, doctors' offices, private businesses, and colleges.

Professors instruct students in a wide variety of academic and vocational subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books. They work in public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, junior or community colleges, and career and vocational schools.

Professors often teach large classes of several hundred students (usually with the help of several graduate teaching assistants), small classes of about 40 to 50 students, seminars with just a few students, or laboratories where students practice the subject matter. They teach an increasingly varied student population as more part-time, older, and culturally diverse students are coming to postsecondary schools.

Graduate Teaching Assistant
A graduate teaching assistant is a qualified graduate student who helps a professor by performing specific tasks (with the professor's guidance). There is a stipend (financial assistance) that is provided for this type of part-time academic employment.

Graduate teaching assistants may help a professor teach an especially large class, grade papers, run classroom related errands, and perform other menial tasks at the suggestion of their overseeing professor. At some schools, experienced graduate teaching assistants are given their own class to teach, and only meet with their assigned professor occasionally to discuss how things are going. The classes that they teach are usually introductory courses in their field of study.

Are you suited to be a teacher?

Teachers have distinct personalities. They tend to be social individuals, which means they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly. They excel at socializing, helping others, and teaching. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if teacher is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Teacher like?

You can find teachers in schools, colleges, universities, schoolyards, on computers, in offices, in classrooms, and at home grading papers.

The working conditions of teachers, which includes the convenience of most school hours and having summers off, have always contributed to the appeal of the teaching profession. However, the reality is that teachers work far beyond the actual school day, and spend a large portion of their evenings, weekends, and even summers planning lessons, grading papers, and communicating with parents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Teachers happy?

Teachers rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 37th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. While it is difficult to definitively identify specific reasons for this low happiness quotient in the career, the physical, mental, and emotional demands placed on teachers may be significant influential factors.

Should I become a Teacher?

For many teachers, their work is a labor of love. This brief statement alone tells aspiring teachers a lot about their chosen profession. That it is among the most challenging and stressful is irrelevant to those that see it more as a calling and vocation than a mere job. Dedicated teachers are motivated by the opportunity and privilege to influence their students’ lives.

To achieve this honorable goal, they need to be able to structure their teaching and manage a classroom. They must pay attention to detail and need to be organized. They most definitely must be patient and understanding and able to think on their feet. They must be listeners, communicators, and counselors.

While this long menu of desired traits and characteristics may appear to be unattainable, it is important to keep in mind that there is no perfect teacher. But every great teacher is knowledgeable, credible, flexible, creative, passionate, and compassionate.

How long does it take to become a Teacher?

The path to becoming a teacher starts with earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and culminates with successfully completing a professional development / student teaching experience – both of which are requirements for licensure.

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Although the process of becoming a teacher in the United States varies somewhat from state to state, these are the basic components and timelines involved:
- Bachelor’s Degree – four years
- Teacher Education / Student Teacher Program – one to two years

What are Teachers like?

Based on our pool of users, Teachers tend to be predominately artistic people. Their next highest interest archetypes are investigative and social. All three of these characteristics speak directly to the work they do. Teaching is without question an art. It most certainly at times calls for an inquisitive, investigative nature. And it is – needless to say – a career that is interactive and social.


What do teachers actually do? ›

Teachers educate, motivate, and guide every generation of learners to prepare them for the real world. Every teacher is unique and has their own teaching styles and methods depending on the subject they teach and the age of their students.

What is the main role of a teacher? ›

Broadly speaking, the function of teachers is to help students learn by imparting knowledge to them and by setting up a situation in which students can and will learn effectively.

Who is a teacher in simple words? ›

A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue, via the practice of teaching.

What does a teacher do all day? ›

Prepare lessons. Create assessments such as quizzes, tests and other assignments. Grade assessments. Take long vacations.

What are the 7 roles of a teacher in school? ›

The primary roles of a teacher are:
  • Providing mentorship. ...
  • Inspiring learners. ...
  • Nurturing healthy curiosity in learners. ...
  • Creating meaningful learning experiences. ...
  • Leveraging technology to support learning. ...
  • Mediating and liaising. ...
  • Researching learning strategies.

What makes a good teacher? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What does a teacher do short answer? ›

A Teacher is a professional who teaches students based on national curriculum guidelines within their specialist subject areas. Their duties include assigning homework, grading tests, documenting progress and keeping up with parent communication.

What are the 4 skills of a teacher? ›

Here are the top teaching skills:
  • Communication. A huge part of teaching is communicating information. ...
  • Patience. People learn at all different rates. ...
  • Creativity. People learn best when they're doing something fun and interesting. ...
  • Enthusiasm. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Dedication. ...
  • Conflict resolution. ...
  • Organisation.

What do teachers do besides teach? ›

We see teachers as people with a set of responsibilities, including asking questions, evaluating students, lecturing, praising or critiquing, assigning homework, supervising and grading examinations, and, at the end of the semester or year, grading each student.

What skills does a teacher need? ›

You'll need:
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses.
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things.
  • leadership skills.
  • to be flexible and open to change.
  • excellent verbal communication skills.
  • maths knowledge.

What do you need to be a teacher? ›

Most school districts require at least a bachelor's degree, which takes at least four years to complete. During that time, you'll gain real-world experience through student teaching and classroom observations. After your four years, you'll feel prepared and ready to inspire your future students!

What is a teacher in one word? ›

7. Instructor, a person who teaches or instructs, imparts knowledge and skills especially as a profession.

What does a teacher do in one sentence? ›

Teachers create engaging lesson plans, educate students, and develop and nurture their interests in education. They can instruct in various subjects and to different students learning at levels.

What being a teacher means? ›

It means having the knowledge to understand where a child is at and knowing how to scaffold that learning to bigger opportunities. It means interacting with families, parents and the community as a voice for the children and for other Early Childhood Educators.

How many hours do teachers sleep? ›

The Average Amount of Sleep a Teacher Gets

The only professions from the study that slept even less? Politicians and on-call doctors. For the Ball State Study, the average amount of sleep for teachers per night was 6.7 hours, but a whopping 43% of the teachers surveyed stated they slept less than 6 hours a night.

Do teachers make a good living? ›

And so you wonder, do teachers make enough money to live comfortably? Yes, in general, K-12 teachers in the U.S make enough money to live comfortably depending on how they are accustomed to living. Other factors include standard of living, geographic location, family status, and saving habits.

What are the 3 types of teacher? ›

This somewhat informal research indicates that schools are usually filled with three types of educators: Lead Learners, Student Engagers, and Personalized Learners.

How do you motivate students? ›

Tips On How To Motivate Your Students
  1. Become a role model for student interest. ...
  2. Get to know your students. ...
  3. Use examples freely. ...
  4. Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. ...
  5. Set realistic performance goals. ...
  6. Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. ...
  7. Be free with praise and constructive in criticism.

What are teachers weaknesses? ›

  • Lack of technological knowledge (such as a specific software)
  • Reliance on routine – inflexibility can cause conflict.
  • Perfectionism – this can be a tall order especially when dealing with children.
  • An incomplete understanding of a specific skill – but a willingness to learn is important.
Nov 6, 2020

What a teacher does for students? ›

Not only do they guide students in academics or extracurricular activities, but teachers are also responsible for shaping a child's future, making him/her a better human being. A teacher imparts knowledge, good values, tradition, modern-day challenges and ways to resolve them within students.

What are the 7 principles of teaching? ›

The principles are identified as:
  • Learners at the centre.
  • The social nature of learning.
  • Emotions are integral to learning.
  • Recognising individual differences.
  • Stretching all students.
  • Assessment for learning.
  • Building horizontal connections.
Oct 13, 2016

What is the purpose of teachers in school? ›

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.


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