The responsibilities of a teacher in the classroom often go beyond teaching facts and figures and basic skills. From elementary school through adolescence, children undergo constant change and progress through many stages of development. Each phase of development puts different demands on a teacher and changes the dynamic of the classroom. Children also progress at different rates, both socially and academically, so a teacher must take pains to meet a variety of different needs each day.
Whatever subject a teacher teaches, he attempts to give students a solid, well-rounded understanding based on a number of objectives. Often, a teacher breaks down the knowledge and skills a student needs to acquire into daily objectives; then he helps his students accomplish that day’s objective. The teacher can build on previous objectives during subsequent days.
In many cases, the school system has input into the curriculum and objectives that the teacher will use in teaching, but the teacher can determine the best way to structure the lessons for his students.
Teaching students to be good citizens as well as good learners is an important part of the in-classroom activity that a teacher directs. One way that teachers do this is to give students responsibility for maintaining the classroom. Many teachers use charts, discussions, rewards and other strategies to engage children and get them motivated to help keep the classroom clean and orderly. In doing this, they help children learn to follow through on responsibilities, to work as a team and to take pride in their environment.
Teachers must work with up to 20 or 30 children from different backgrounds with different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses. Conflicts will sometimes arise between classmates. It’s inevitable. One of the roles a teacher plays in the classroom is that of mediator. In this role, teachers teach effective communication techniques, problem-solving strategies, boundary setting and proper social behavior.
Teachers must also keep track of a number of things about each student, such as attendance, their progress, and problems they may be facing. In each class, a teacher must note who is present and absent. If a student is absent repeatedly, a teacher must take appropriate action involving parents and guidance counselors. A teacher must be aware when students are struggling and in danger of failing, so that she can assist them in finding resources to help, such as parental assistance or tutoring services. If a student has other problems, such as regular tardiness or issues with paying attention in class, it is up to the teacher to initiate actions that will help the student.
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