What do teachers really do? Every task that teachers perform falls under one of six categories. Many states such as the state of Florida use these and similar categories when observing teachers. They truly are a great way to organize your thoughts and systems around teaching. Following are the six teacher tasks with information and tools to help you grow and enhance your day-to-day teaching experience.
1. Planning, Developing, and Organizing Instruction
One of the most important parts of teaching takes place long before the teacher begins any lesson. Planning, developing, and organizing instruction are a major part of any teacher’s job. If a teacher is effective at planning their lessons, they will find that their day-to-day teaching tasks are much easier. Unfortunately, many teachers do not have the time to truly create effective and unique plans for their classes. This is especially true if they are teaching multiple preps. However, every teacher should attempt to upgrade a couple of lessons each semester. This will help keep them and their material fresh.
2. Housekeeping and Recordkeeping Tasks
For many teachers this is the most annoying part of teaching. Time has to be spent taking attendance, recording grades, and following through on all necessary housekeeping and recordkeeping tasks. The way that a teacher handles these tasks says a lot about their classroom organization skills. With effective and easy-to-use systems in place, teachers will be able to spend more time focusing on actually instructing and interacting with their students.
3. Managing Student Conduct
Many new teachers find that this are of teaching is what scares them the most. However, a couple of tools if properly used can really help you create an effective classroom management policy. These tools include posted rules combined with a posted discipline policy all of which are consistently and fairly enforced. If you are not fair or do not follow through with your posted policies, you will have a very hard time keeping a well-managed classroom.
4. Presenting Subject Material
Once the planning is done and students are sitting in class waiting to be taught, a teacher is at a critical juncture – how will they actually present their subject matter. While teachers typically decide on their main mode of delivery during the planning phase, they will not actually implement these methods until they are face-to-face with their class. There are important tools that all teachers should have in their teaching arsenal no matter which method of delivery they are using including verbal clues, effective wait time, and authentic praise.
5. Assessing Student Learning
All instruction should be built around assessments. When a teacher sits down to develop a lesson, they should begin by determining how they will measure whether the students learned what they were trying to teach. While the instruction is the meat of the course, the assessments are the measure of success. Therefore, it is important that teachers spend some time creating and refining valid assessments for their students.
6. Meeting Professional Obligations
Every teacher must meet certain professional obligations depending on their school, their district, their state, and their area of certification. These obligations might range from something as mundane as hall duty during their planning period to something more time consuming like participating in professional development opportunities required to get recertified. Further, teachers might be asked to sponsor a club or chair a school committee. All of these require a teacher’s time and are a required part of a teaching career.