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What Does a Teacher Do?

A teacher should be skilled at motivating students to excel academically.
Teachers may be tasked with educating multiple students in group settings.
Teachers devote part of their time outside of the classroom to grade assignments.
Kindergarten and other early childhood teachers may cover many different subject areas.
A teacher must be able to assess the needs of his or her students.
Teachers may specialize in a subject, such as computer science.
As society advances, so does the job of teaching.
Teachers may work with students on an individual basis.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2014
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A teacher promotes and facilitates learning among a group of students. Some individuals who work under this professional title specialize in a particular subject, such as English, computer science, or art. Others, such as kindergarten teachers, may cover a broad range of subjects. Being a teacher requires a person to have a wide range of skills beyond knowledge of her subject area. As society changes, so does the job of teaching.

Teachers had and continue to have a critical role in society. Without them, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for people to learn the skills that they need to survive and succeed. In addition to academic instruction in areas such as science, literature, and history, teachers are also widely responsible for individuals' social and life skills. For example, students are commonly taught how to engage in healthy relationships, manage their finances, and search for employment.

In addition to knowledge of the subject matter that she presents, a teacher needs a variety of other skills to be effective in her position. The ability to effectively communicate is a very important example. It is irrelevant how much knowledge a teacher has if she cannot share it with her students. Teachers should also be motivational. Otherwise, their students may not be moved to take adequate interest to learn or apply the information that is being presented.

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It is generally important for a teacher to be able to assess the needs of his students. When teachers are too driven by a syllabus or curriculum, they risk jeopardizing their students' learning experience for the sake of accomplishing goals. People tend to learn at difference paces, and they may learn through different means. One student may be an oral learner, while another may need visual aids. This requires a great deal of versatility from a person in this profession.

Teachers also have the duty to determine how well students have learned what has been presented to them. They may do this by developing and assigning a wide range of exercises, such as reports, presentations, or tests. The teachers must then assess them and make a determination of each student's knowledge level and ability to follow instructions. This requires these professionals to have high levels of objectivity and fairness.

As society advances, so does the job of teaching. For example, the manner in which teachers present information to their students changes as new technology becomes available. The interaction between students and instructors is commonly impacted by innovation. The types of teaching positions that are available tend to mirror society's development. Internet instructors, for instance, are in high demand at the beginning of the 21st century, but there was no such need at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Discuss this Article

Ana1234
Post 3

@irontoenail - This is a generalization, but I've met a lot of homeschooled kids and they almost always are pretty bad at relating to others. I know the modern school system isn't perfect but I would never advocate universal home schooling, particularly in the modern world where there are so few chances for kids to interact outside of school as it is.

It's true that a lot of really good digital resources could be exploited to teach modern kids. But I honestly think that we have nothing that even approaches the complexity and flexibility of the human brain, and that is what is being shaped. You can only cut diamonds with other diamonds. You can try making teacher websites and programs but they will never be able to do the job a decent human teacher can do.

irontoenail
Post 2

@umbra21 - To some extent, he does have a point and I'm interested to see how education develops over the next few decades, given the kinds of technology we now have at our disposal.

Children need access to the right teacher resources, of course, but they can, and do essentially teach themselves with the teacher offering them support and scaffolding. Now that we have various digital resources, there's no reason students can't all just learn a lot of what they need through the computer screen, by making choices about what they want to do.

umbra21
Post 1

I've always thought that teachers were one of the most important jobs in society. I remember when I was on a cross country trip once I met a man who argued with me over this. He claimed that all kids really needed was a few minimum wage workers to help them learn how to read when they were young and after that they could essentially teach themselves whatever they needed to know. According to him, students either wanted to learn, and therefore didn't need a teacher, or they didn't want to learn, in which case a teacher was a waste of time.

I still think about that all the time and I wish that I had had the ability back then to argue with him about it. The most important thing teachers do is teach kids how to learn. That isn't something that anyone can do instinctively. If it was, we'd all be brain surgeons.

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