Educating is just one of the many things you will have to do in your role as teacher. This lesson will detail several of the key roles teachers play in classrooms and schools.
The Roles of a Teacher
Though a teacher-training program focuses on training you to become an effective educator, there are actually many more roles you will play throughout your career. The roles of a teacher are the various responsibilities and activities in which teachers engage.
This lesson will detail several of these roles as seen through the eyes of a veteran teacher.Mrs. Johnson is a veteran teacher who has been in the field for 15 years. During her career, she has taught at various grade levels in several different schools. While the students, environments, and challenges changed, Mrs. Johnson has always found that she plays several key roles on the job.
Teacher as Educator
The first role Mrs.
Johnson fills is a fairly obvious one. She is, first and foremost, an educator. A teacher is the person in the room who has the skills, tools, and information necessary to educate young people. In her role as educator, Mrs. Johnson is responsible for teaching the school’s curriculum through engaging lessons and activities.The teacher as educator must take into account student learning styles, abilities, and personalities. To be an effective educator, Mrs.
Johnson must create lessons that are accessible to every student in her classroom. Taking on the role of educator is what Mrs. Johnson was trained for in her teacher preparation program. It is in this role where most of her energy is focused, but is by no means her only responsibility in the school.
Teacher as Caregiver
Teachers are the adults that children spend a large chunk of their time with. They are with the children for around seven hours a day, five days a week. Because of the large amount of time spent with her students, Mrs.
Johnson must also be a caregiver in her classroom. This means providing physical, emotional, and intellectual support for students in various capacities.For example, Mrs. Johnson works with younger students. Therefore, accidents are likely to occur in the classroom, such as a child falling and getting hurt. It is then that Mrs. Johnson steps into the role as caregiver and tends to the child’s physical and emotional wounds.
While there is often a school nurse on staff to fulfill this role, Mrs. Johnson is the first line of support before the nurse.A teacher is also there to emotionally support students. Several years ago, Mrs. Johnson had a student she suspected was being bullied. She stepped into her role as caregiver and cared for the child emotionally while also handling the situation professionally with other staff and administrators. As a teacher, you cannot effectively educate your students if you do not also care for them in various ways.
Teacher as Community Leader
Schools are often the central hubs of communities. It is in school where children make friends, community events are held, and adults meet and collaborate with one another. Therefore, a teacher must also be a community leader. Mrs. Johnson steps into this role when she volunteers at dances, organizes fundraising, and interacts with parents and other members of the community outside of the school.
While teaching at one of her schools, Mrs. Johnson noticed that the local playground had a dilapidated swing-set. She decided, in her role as community leader, to organize a fundraiser to help get a new swing-set installed in the playground.
By collaborating with her students and their parents, they held a bake sale at the school (with permission from administration) to raise money.Being a community leader does not always mean organizing large events and fundraisers. Simply being out in the community often means you have to take on the role of a community leader.
For example, Mrs. Johnson sometimes runs into parents of her students at the local mall. During these interactions, she slides into the role of community leader and interacts with the parents graciously and politely.
Teacher as Collaborator (or Colleague)
A teacher is also responsible for being a collaborative part of a team of educators.
In this role, Mrs. Johnson attends grade-group, school-wide, and district-wide meetings where educational policies and plans are discussed. She contributes to these meetings with ideas of her own and works with her fellow teachers to carry out plans.In one of her classrooms, Mrs. Johnson helped her fellow grade partners organize a 2nd-grade project in which the students were going to raise money to plant trees in their community. While the project wasn’t her idea, Mrs. Johnson still gave her full support to help bring everything together to create a learning experience for the whole second grade.
Teacher as Student
Finally, arguably the most important role a teacher has to fill is that of a student. In order to effectively educate her students, Mrs. Johnson continues her professional development through classes and conferences. By attending these classes and conferences, Mrs. Johnson is able to learn about new ideas and theories in education while improving her teaching skills.
A teacher is expected to fill many roles in and out of the classroom.
These roles of a teacher can manifest as educator, caregiver, community leader, colleague, and even student. All of these roles work together to help the teacher provide the best education for his or her students. If you are able to step into these roles enthusiastically and thoughtfully, you will be on the road to provide a complete school experience for your students.