Teacher Job Responsibilities

By: Tonya Mead, PhD, MBA, M.Ed, Corporate Trainer and Behavioral Scientist

Hiring professionals specifically trained in education pedagogy is not new. In fact, according to Classroom.com, Confucius (561 B.C.), was the first famous private teacher. It was common in ancient times for Greeks to hire private teachers to give private lessons to educate their children as there were no public schools during that era. In fact, Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle who studied under the tutelage of Plato.  The National Public Radio in 2014 considered Socrates, the mentor of Plato, as “the superstar teacher of the ancient world.” Socrates gave birth to the Socratic method which involved a series of ‘asking and answering’ questions to gain understanding and share knowledge. Socrates was such a GOAT (greatest of all time) that “he was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for “impiety” and “corrupting” the minds of the youth of Athens.”

During this period of lore, private tutors focused on seven core subjects:

  • Trivium Subjects consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric,
  • Quadrivium Subjects consisting of arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry.

Later on, as civilization became further developed, it was necessary for many children (the kids of noblemen, the elite and wealthy) to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities related to apprenticeships. This opened the door for young people to enter the crafts and trade industry.

As the Middle Ages came to a close, more formalized institutions of learning, teaching and instruction such as Cambridge University were founded. This led to the development of teacher approved training as an entry-level prerequisite prior to the start of one’s career as a teacher. Standard teacher job responsibilities and duties are:

Standard Teacher Job Responsibilities

  • Planning, developing and organizing instruction (create lesson plans)
  • Delivering instruction (direct, one-on-one, large/small group)
  • Designing, implementing, scoring, and analyzing student assessments (formal and informal)
  • Remaining up-to-date on the latest research-based teaching and learning methods and techniques
  • Managing the classroom, establishing classroom norms, rewards and incentives for appropriate behavior
  • Monitoring student progress or lack of progress
  • Adapting instructional delivery, assignments and lesson plans to meet individual needs of students
  • Engaging students and parents
  • Providing feedback
  • Carrying out other duties as assigned (lunch, recess, hall monitoring duties and sponsoring after school student extracurricular activities)

These teacher work tasks, job related responsibilities and teacher duties are consistent regardless as to whether the teacher is a veteran, experienced, new or teacher student trainee. Please see the following chart depicting teacher activity during supervisor observations.

Teacher Activity During Supervisor Observation (Percentage of each activity during structured observation of 200 lesson segments in the class of experienced and 200 in the classes of student teachers). Now that a presentation of the general everyday activities of teacher have been reviewed, let’s turn to an actual job description template of teacher job responsibilities, duties and tasks required upon hire and throughout ones career.

Specific Teacher Job Responsibilities and Duties

  • Follow state standards and district curricula to meet student developmental goals and classroom instructional activities
  • Prepare lesson plans, grade student papers, manage the classroom behaviors, assess student assignments, and give prompt feedback to students and families
  • Communicate openly and respectfully by first utilizing active listening strategies with students, parents, colleagues, administrators and community members
  • Evaluate student academic progress, achievements, and setbacks regularly and provide written and oral reports as required by the district
  • Create and maintain records of student attendance, disciplinary incidents, accidents as mandated by the district
  • Participate in, attend and present at conferences, workshops, webinars and other professional development
  • activities to remain abreast of the latest research-based techniques related to teaching and learning
  • Manage and report upon student behavior in accordance with district directives
  • Help provide a positive, safe, and mutually respectful school environment for all students in the classroom, hallways and throughout the school grounds
  • Know responsibilities of mandated reporting of possible child neglect and abuse

Penn State University, “the Big Three of Greek Philosophy” September 2014.
World History Encyclopedia, “Aristotle Tutoring Alexander”, Mohawk Games, June 19, 2021.
Wragg, E.C. Primary Teaching Skills, Routledge, 1993; page 172.

Dr. Mead, PhD, MBA, MA http://www.ishareknowledge.com is a consultant and blogger at http://edfraud.net specializing in human behavior, school and social psychology. She can be contacted at: tonya at ishareknowledge dot com