BEING A TEACHER
Teachers today wear many different hats. Their roles go beyond instructing students on a particular subject, and their days rarely end when the bell rings at 3 p.m.
Educators, advocates and role models are just a few of the personas that teachers take on. Being successful depends on dedication, analytical skills and the ability to adapt to an always-changing classroom environment — and, of course, academic expertise and a willingness to navigate an administrative and bureaucratic landscape.
But, many are attracted to the teaching field because of these many facets and the opportunity to have a profound impact on the next generation.
The traditional role of a teacher is to educate students about a particular subject. While that’s still a major part of teaching, educators do so much more. In the past, teachers were usually handed a curricula and sent into the classroom. Today, teachers develop their own curricula and lesson plans, which must be tailored to each individual class, engage students and account for the various learning levels. This includes preparing worksheets, presentations and assignments, and tutoring students who need a little extra help. With the increased emphasis on standardized testing, teachers also take on the responsibility of ensuring students are prepared.
Teachers advocate for students and the entire educational system. This involves working with school administrators, politicians and others to set and maintain educational standards and address with any problems within the system. Communication with parents is another way that teachers advocate for students. They keep parents informed and work with parents to help students succeed and handle any issues.
Teachers set the tone for their classroom during the school year, and develop and enforce classroom rules. They serve as disciplinarians and resolve conflicts. Teachers also uphold district or state educational requirements or standards.
Teachers maintain the traditional role of assessing student performance and abilities, and measuring their growth. This can mean hours spent grading assignments and possibly tweaking lesson plans. Teachers today also have documentation and reporting requirements to fulfill.
The student-teacher relationship is a special one. Many students look to their teachers for support and positive reinforcement, especially if they lack certain parental contact. Because students spend so much time in the classroom, teachers play a vital role in raising well-balanced children and are influential in instilling confidence and stability. Along with a traditional education, teachers instill many life lessons in their students, including responsibility, deadlines, character and collaboration.
Teachers serve as role models for their students and the community at large. They demonstrate a professional adult role and set an example for treating others fairly and with respect. They can be mentors for students and other teachers, especially those just entering the field.
Besides providing students with an education, teachers take on a much broader role. They set a positive example and have a lifelong influence on students.