The roles of a teacher/trainer extend much wider than presenting in front of a classroom of learners. Behind every lesson there is a considerable amount of planning and preparation in order to cater for every learner’s individual need and inspire them to achieve their goals. There are a number of roles of a teacher/trainer which they will demonstrate on a daily basis. Below are the most prominent roles within the education/training sector:
Roles of a teacher/trainer
1. A Teacher
A teacher should ideally be a specialist within their chosen field and must be confident when delivering the content they are teaching. A teacher should be knowledgeable of their subject and should aim to inspire, motivate, encourage and support their learners in achieving the desired course or qualification they are striving towards. A teacher should always be open to listen to class members; answering any questions they have regarding the course content.
It is important that a teacher is providing the most relevant and up-to-date knowledge within their subject specialism and therefore adapting to regular changes. A teacher should be open to change with new legislation, policy changes and the needs of the organisation.
A professional teacher should always be open to attending CPD events and development opportunities to further enhance their skills and knowledge.
How to be an effective teacher
- Stay up to date with your own subject developments & be open to change.
- Sign up to awarding body websites and newsletters.
- Be open to attending CPD events, inset days and progression opportunities.
- Mark learner work on time and provide results in a timely manner.
- Be open to being observed by colleagues and take on board feedback.
- Observe colleagues teaching to see different teaching techniques and strategies.
A teacher who is a motivator is enthusiastic and passionate about their subject specialism; they will engage and inspire their learners to strive towards their desired goals or goal. A teacher who is a motivator is a positive figure who provides praise and support for all learners; this in turn will help foster a positive atmosphere where learning can best take place. Through providing supportive feedback and guidance, a motivator can help each individual to achieve their goals. A motivating teacher will help to stimulate students for learning and can challenge learners to gain newfound skills and push learners to achieve beyond their limits.
How to be a motivator within your teaching practice
- Have passion & enthusiasm for your subject specialism.
- Try to avoid repetitive teaching approaches/methods.
- Make changes to a lesson if something isn’t working.
- Adopt a varied teaching style (VARK).
- Use active learning such as group work.
- Praise and encourage your learners.
A facilitator is a teacher who organises, monitors and develops opportunities for learners to foster their personal growth through classroom discussions, debates and group work. Facilitators are those who challenge learners to develop their independence and confidence to express their own opinions and work in collaboration with team members. A teacher who is a facilitator will organise paired or group work tasks and allow for learners to be able to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions to work through a task cohesively. There are many advantages of this approach as learners develop key skills such as communication, listening, imagination and teamwork.
How to be a facilitator within your teaching practice
- Delegate job roles or responsibilities to the class members.
- Set clear time-bound tasks.
- Set individual tasks and targets to learners.
- Arrange classroom discussions and debates.
- Ask learners to present their findings to the class.
- Ask learners to read aloud to the class.
- Organise paired and group work opportunities.
- Peer and self-assessment activities- for example peer-marking.
4. Role Model
A teacher who is a role model inspires others to achieve their desired goals. A role model is someone who demonstrates a positive attitude and a passion for their subject and provides learners with honest advice and support. A role model is a person who encourages learners to strive for success and to achieve their goals. The behaviour that a teacher demonstrates will have an impact on learners as often the learner will replicate the behaviour or habits as established by the teacher. Some advice for anyone working within a teaching or training role would be: aim to be representative of your organisation and show yourself in a positive light.
How to be a role model within your teaching practice
- Start your lessons on time.
- Arrive to your lessons early to set up equipment and the room; ready for learners to arrive.
- Be respectful and promote respect through ground rules.
- Demonstrate confidence and leadership.
- Be consistent.
- Share resources with colleagues or fellow teachers.
- Communicate and interact with all learners.
- Have humility and admit to mistakes when teaching.
- Dress code- dress smartly and fit for purpose.
- Body language- positive open body language.
- Maintain eye contact with all learners.
- Provide honest advice to learners.
A key role for any teacher or trainer is to be a planner of lessons and courses. An effective teacher or trainer will be responsible for creating lesson plans and schemes of work to ensure their lessons are well planned and flow well. Many teaching organisations provide teachers/trainers with pre-made lesson plans to be used within the delivery of their courses. A teacher must understand their own qualifications, guided learning hours and assessment methods. This is usually provided by an awarding body. It is important for teachers to be mindful of following a lesson plan or scheme of work to ensure they track their progress. A teacher must aim to teach their lessons in a timely manner and must try not to overrun their lessons otherwise this may impact upon your colleagues teaching the next lesson or learners leaving their lessons on time. A well planned lesson and course will improve your confidence as a teacher/trainer.
How to be an effective planner within your teaching practice
- Ask your colleagues or the awarding body for their lesson plans & scheme of work.
- Allow yourself time to plan your lessons effectively and not to get distracted by others.
- Have a system for planning such as a lesson plan or scheme of work template.
- Asks for help and support from colleagues.
- Review your scheme of work regularly to ensure you are keeping on track with your lessons.
One of the main roles of a teacher is to conduct and carry out regular objective assessments on learners to monitor their course progress and provide formative feedback to highlight their current strengths and areas for development. As an assessor, you should become familiar with the awarding bodies’ standards or criteria as highlighted within the qualification specification by the awarding body. A teacher delivering a qualification or course for the first time should become familiar with these standards to support their learners. A teacher who is taking on assessor responsibilities must be fair and assess to the qualification’s standards or criteria. This will enable them to make a fair judgement on a learner’s knowledge or skills by using their own expert knowledge.
How to be an assessor within your teaching practice
- Prepare learners fully for their assessment covering all content.
- Show learners the assessment criteria.
- Explain the assessment clearly.
- Conduct mock assessments if required.
- Provide objective feedback and avoid personal opinions when providing feedback to learners.
- Do not try to catch learners out.
- Provide constructive feedback to learners which should motivate learners.
- Avoid jargon to confuse the learner.
An approachable teacher/trainer is someone who is warm, friendly and welcoming to learners when they arrive at their lessons and will make them feel comfortable and at ease. Approachable teachers/trainers will listen to a learner’s questions, show interest and thank them for their contributions to the classroom environment. If time allows, a teacher should be available to speak to learners both before and after a lesson. An approachable teacher will have an open body language, maintain eye-contact with learners and show attentiveness when talking to them.
An approachable teacher/trainer will:
- Demonstrate an open/positive body language.
- Have good eye-contact with your learners.
- Have an ‘open door’ policy.
- Create ground rules or a ‘classroom contract’.
- Be available to speak about any issues at the beginning and end of lessons.
- Allow for open questions from group members.
- Sign post the learner to other sources of information such as support networks.
An important teacher’s role is to be an evaluator of lessons and courses in order to reflect on their own strengths and areas for development to make changes and progress.
A way for a teacher to be an evaluator is to take time away from your teaching delivery and allow yourself to reflect on the lesson’s strengths and areas for development.
It is important to gain different points of view and reflect on how to further develop your teaching practice. An evaluator is someone who is open to feedback from learners and managers and understands the importance of making changes to their practice in order to improve their teaching delivery.
How to become an evaluator within your teaching practice
- Keep a teaching log/diary.
- Use learner feedback forms.
- Be observed by a colleague/mentor.
- Ask learners openly what they thought of the lesson.
- Trial new teaching approaches within your future lessons.
- Gain electronic feedback data.
- Analyse learner satisfaction rates.
A teacher who is an innovator creates and introduces new teaching methods, activities or resources within their teaching practice. An innovative teacher embraces change and trials new technologies and teaching methods in order to keep lessons exciting and interesting. Learners will be curious to experience these new approaches and will thank their teacher for taking a risk when trialling a new approach. Many innovative teachers decide to up skill other teachers by hosting training/INSET sessions to teach their new technologies or techniques.
How to be an innovator within your teaching practice
- Create your own resources.
- Trial new resources or methods.
- Attend school INSET days & training events.
- Observe other teachers or colleagues & be open to new changes and techniques.
- Sign up to teaching websites, newsletters, seminars and teaching societies to receive the latest updates on teaching methods and technologies.
- Be open to resources or technologies not gaining the desired effect.
A teacher who is a leader takes control of a class or a situation calmly and communicates with learners the direction of the course. An effective leader will listen to class members’ opinions but ultimately makes the final decision on lesson activities, timings and outcomes. A teacher should not be swayed by the opinions of class members and must remain focused on meeting course outcomes and objectives. This is particularly important if you are required to follow a lesson plan and scheme of work.
How to be a leader within your teaching practice
- Attend courses or take part in regular training on leadership.
- Observe colleagues teaching lessons.
- Chair a standardisation meeting.
- Review video recordings of your own teaching practice.
- Deliver training on INSET days or conferences to build your confidence.
Responsibilities of a Teacher/trainer
The term ‘responsibility’ means to be accountable and to take ownership for your actions as a teacher/trainer. Within any teaching/training position, you will be accountable to a number of individuals such as: your learners, the organisation, managers, the awarding body and stakeholders such as parents. By demonstrating a caring and conscientious approach as an educator, you will gain the trust and respect of your learners and fellow colleagues, a key responsibility for any practitioner is to share good practice and to in collaboration as a team.
Below are the most prominent responsibilities within the education/training sector:
1. To meet learning outcomes
A key responsibility for any teacher/trainer is to meet the course objectives and learning outcomes. This is important as all learners need to fully cover all of the course material otherwise learners can leave a course with gaps in their knowledge and have unanswered questions. The reputation of the training provider can also be affected if qualifications are not taught correctly. The aim is to cover all of the course content within the scheme of work or syllabus.
How to meet learning outcomes
- Practice your lesson timings.
- Start lessons promptly.
- Do not let learners leave early.
- Follow a lesson plan and try not to deviate from this plan during your teaching.
- Arrange regular meetings with a mentor to discuss your lesson timings.
- Be observed by a mentor.
2. To promote Health & Safety
A teacher should always be accountable for their teaching environment and ensure the area is safe, secure and welcoming for learning to take place. If learners are not comfortable or worried about the environment then learners are less focused on the learning process, ultimately disrupting their learning. If you are new to the teaching environment, ensure you are familiar with the setting by conducting a review or risk assessment of the classroom before teaching takes place.
How to promote health & safety within your own teaching
- Conduct a risk assessment prior to teaching.
- Check there are no trailing electrical cables/leads.
- Ensure gangways between desks are kept clear.
- Ask all learners to take care of the teaching environment and equipment.
- Check internal flooring is in good condition
- Check there is bright enough lighting to ensure safe access and exits.
- Ensure the classroom can be locked and learners’ possessions are safe.
- Maslow- Hierarchy of needs.
3. To meet individual learning needs
Teachers often adopt a conscientious approach to find out how best they can support their learners within their lesson. Learners with a specific learning need usually pose a formal statement of their needs such as dyslexia and can be supported immediately through a specialist such as a learning support manager. Many other learners may be reserved or reluctant to discuss their individual learning needs or may even be worried about the reaction from the teacher. It is important to thank them for their contributions and listen to how best you can support them through their course. It can be reassuring for the learner to be asked about their previous learning experiences and to be asked how they best like to learn or how the teacher can support them. Some learners may have experienced a negative teaching experience such as high school or college; however as a teacher you can ask how you can best support them to enjoy learning again.
How to meet individual learner’s needs
- Arrange ILPs (individual learner plans/one-one meetings/reviews).
- Speak to a learning support specialist.
- Discuss targets and goals with the learner.
- Use questions suited to the learners needs.
- Set ‘stretch and challenge’ activities.
- Have a varied teaching approach within your lessons (VARK).
4. To promote physical, emotional & social well-being
A teacher should be mindful of promoting learners physical, emotional and social well-being within their lessons. The activities and approaches you deliver within your teaching can help learners to develop their social skills and confidence both inside and outside of the classroom environment. If you sense a learner is not acting their usual self, you can ask them if everything is ok for them and whether they require any support or advice from a specialist.
To promote physical, emotional & social well-being
- Promote mindfulness activities (breathing exercises).
- Promote such as posters of support networks within your classroom.
- Encourage learners to talk about their feelings.
- Do not take on counsellor responsibilities-set your boundaries as a teacher.
- Sign post learners to support networks or specialist staff.
5. To be non-biased
A teacher should be fair, non-judgemental and non-biased and should maintain their objectivity throughout their teaching. An objective teacher will help to create a supportive and cohesive environment, where learners feel they have an equal chance to achieve their desired goals and their contributions are valued. It is important not to have favourite learners or to overly advantage or disadvantage a learner from achieving their desired qualification. Try to demonstrate an objective approach and not over share your own opinions or viewpoints.
How to be non-biased as a teacher
- Adopt a ‘team’ mentality as a teacher.
- Do not be overfriendly with learners.
- Try marking without seeing learner names.
- Be objective and not subjective.
- Follow the standards/criteria of the qualification.
- Try to ask each learner a question within the lesson.
6. Meeting deadlines
A key responsibility for any teacher is to meet deadlines and remain on top of both teaching and administration duties. A teacher can utilise their free periods and time away from teaching to keep their records up to date. A teacher should aim to balance their time to balance their responsibilities such as teaching, administration duties and to attend all meetings. Often schools and colleges will have a marking policy which explains the suggested turnaround time for marking of learner work.
How to meet deadlines as a teacher
- Communicate with your colleagues and managers- keep them updated of your deadlines.
- Have a set period dedicated to completing administration tasks.
- Do not be a perfectionist with tasks.
- Speak to a line manager if you are struggling to maintain deadlines/work load- always ask for help early.
To act professionally
All teachers should be a positive representative of their organisation and should demonstrate a professional approach to their teaching role both inside and outside of the organisation. A professional teacher will be an advocate of their subject specialism and their awarding body. By demonstrating professional qualities, you will gain the respect and support from colleagues, managers and show yourself as an ideal role model for your learners to follow.
How to act professionally as a teacher
- Follow your own organisation’s policies, procedures and guidelines for how to behave onsite.
- Show attentiveness during meetings.
- Do not publically criticise your organisation or colleague-share any concerns within private.
- Demonstrate qualities such as; listening, patience and empathy.
8. To promote a supportive environment
A key responsibility for any teacher is to promote a supportive and inclusive classroom atmosphere where all learners’ individual needs are recognised and supported. An inclusive atmosphere will help learners to break down barriers and feel more confident to participate fully within classroom activities and answer questions. As a teacher/trainer, try to create a culture of mutual respect and understanding with your learners, this will help to create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere for your learners.
How to promote a supportive environment
- Ground rules- agree on the classroom rules or a ‘classroom contract’ these will define a clear minimum of standards for behaviour for learners to follow.
- Praise & support for all learners.
- Conduct an initial or diagnostic assessment.
- Conduct regular ILP (individual learning plan) meetings.
- Answer learners’ questions or find out answers to support learners.
- Consistency-enforce those standards consistently.
- Deal with low level disruption in a sensitive way.
- Be aware of the specific needs of every learner in your class.
- Have high expectations.
- Arrange external support for learners should they require it.
9: To maintain records
Teachers/trainers will maintain and uphold a range of records such as: attendance, details of learner progress, assessment and action plans. Record keeping is integral for all teachers and must take time away from teaching to ensure that all records are being maintained and are up to date. Keeping records is also important should a complaint or assessment dispute occur and you are required to review your paperwork and systems.
Records should be kept for a number of reasons, such as:
- Internal and external moderation.
- Annual reviews.
- Meetings with parents and stakeholders.
How to maintain records as a teacher
- Set time or free periods aside for marking and updating databases.
- Ensure records are kept safely and securely.
- Ask for training on how to use internal marking systems.
- Attend regular standardisation meetings.
- Ask colleagues/ managers for support and advice on how to keep records.
- Confidentiality of records.
10: Partaking in quality assurance processes
All teachers/trainers should make a conscious effort to attend all meetings, training events such as INSET days and to partake in quality assurance activities. By attending standardisation meetings, you can help to familiarise yourself with the latest standards and delivery information regarding your course or subject. Failure to attend standardisation meetings could mean that you are teaching content which is out of date and not conforming to the aims and mission statement of the organisation.
How to take part within the quality assurance process
- Keep a record of the meeting agenda/minutes of a meeting.
- Be prepared-take marked learner work to the standardisation meeting.
- Compare fellow teachers’ marking.
- Ask questions during the standardisation meeting- do not be passive.