What Does a Primary School Teacher Do?

A primary school teacher working.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2014
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A primary school teacher teaches younger children, that, depending on different age categorizations around the world, may be 4 at the youngest or 12 at the oldest. In some countries, the common term is elementary school rather than primary. The elementary or primary school program educates children to prepare them for the upper grades of high school. The program of study he or she teaches will also depend on the area and its approved curricula.

Primary school teachers typically create lesson plans for their grade level based on meeting government standards. Usually a primary school program will place an emphasis on well-rounded activities such as reading, math, language arts, physical education, art and science. A primary school teacher also usually creates activities to help children learn to interact socially by being respectful of other students. Such activities may include having the children collaborate on projects in partners or groups so they learn to work out different roles and responsibilities.

Helping the young students master expected outcomes in all subjects is a main task of teachers in primary school. The teacher will evaluate each student's progress according to guidelines set by the school board in many cases. After each reporting period, a primary school teacher will typically set up parent interviews. Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each child's progress in a constructive way can help parents support the teacher's classroom activities to better facilitate learning.


Meeting with parents at the school in the evenings after report cards is often necessary to accommodate people who work outside the home during the day. Other evenings at the school may include school plays or fundraising events. A primary school teacher must also attend regular faculty meetings. These meetings may involve discussing upcoming curriculum changes as well as progress reports to the school principal to keep him or her aware of how each class is progressing.

Many primary school teachers teach every subject to their class, including art and physical education. A primary school teacher has to organize the lessons so that appropriate attention and progress is being made in each subject. He or she has the responsibility of ensuring that all of the children in his or her class, whether average or special needs learners, are receiving as clear and supportive instruction as possible. Primary school teachers also have to supervise their classes carefully for safety reasons due to the young age group.


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