Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Educational Responsibilities of Teachers

As a teacher, I found that all teachers know they must teach, but there are many other aspects of teaching of which a responsible teacher should be aware. Here are ten that I think are important.
  1. A teacher's first responsibility should be to take care of himself or herself. Teachers are no good to anyone if they don't feel good or are not healthy. This means getting enough sleep, eating properly, exercising daily, and finding time for family, friends, personal interests, and hobbies.
  2. Teachers must learn and practice patience. Many aspects of teaching can be exasperating. It's easy to answer a question the first time it's asked during the day. But at the end of the day, when it's the fiftieth time you've answered the same question, it's easy to lose patience. Remember, it's the fiftieth time for you, but it's the first time for the student.
  3. Be on time. It sets a poor example if the teacher is always late getting to school or getting to class. It also becomes difficult to justify disciplinary action to students who are late.
  4. Write out classroom rules and grading procedures. Give copies to students and parents.
  5. Decorate your classroom and keep it clean, organized, and clutter-free.
  6. Have lesson plans. In most cases, they don't have to be elaborate (unless the principal or school system requires this), but they should be complete and well-written. Any substitute coming to your class should be able to completely take over.
  7. Teachers should keep up on legal issues affecting education. Many of these impact the classroom, the curriculum, the teaching, and the operations of the school. Don't rely on department chairs, principals, or school district administrators to keep you informed of all these.
  8. Teachers should keep up on their teaching. There are new teaching methods, new technologies, new materials, new philosophies, new resources, and new research. While you may not incorporate all these, you may find something that really works for you.
  9. Teachers should get papers and tests back to students as soon as possible. Students may act like they don't care, but they really do want to see their scores. It does take time to check papers properly and that may need to be explained to students and their parents.
  10. Teachers should be friendly to students but not become their friends. It's good to attend student activities, but there is a line that is not to be crossed. Some students need friends and will want to be close to their teachers. They may be clingy or even develop crushes, but the teacher is the adult and must keep the relationship professional.

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