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The Responsibilities of Teachers

Why Teachers Should Not Take Their Responsibilities Lightly

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The Responsibilities of Teachers

Teacher sits at Window

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It is not uncommon to hear a teacher complain about the responsibilities that are laid upon them by society. Many times they feel too much pressure from the weight of what is expected of them. But what is it that students, parents, administrators, and the community expect of teachers? Following is a list of just a few of the responsibilities that teachers have:
  • Teachers need to impart knowledge of their subject matter to students. This goes beyond simply stating the knowledge that they have gained through their own education. Instead, teachers must possess an aptitude to teach the material through different methods based on the needs of the students. Many teachers who are finishing up their degree do not see much more than this as their main responsibility. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Teachers need to be able to meet the needs of students of varying abilities within the same classroom. Even though many teachers would like to be able to teach a class of students with similar background knowledge and motivation, this rarely if ever happens. Therefore, teachers have the responsibility to vary instruction and enable all students an opportunity to learn.
  • Teachers need to have common sense. As a teacher you are required to make numerous decisions everyday. A good decision making ability grounded in common sense will lead to a more successful teaching experience. But more importantly, teachers who do not use their common sense and make judgement errors are more likely to create difficulties for themselves and the profession. Pick up any newspaper across the nation, and you will read about a teacher who made a stupid decision causing them their job and the profession of teaching an embarrassing situation.
  • Teachers have the responsibility to be a good role model in and out of the classroom. Believe it or not, this is somewhat of a controversial statement as there are teachers who do not believe that their private life at all impacts their professional life. However, a teacher who sidelines as a porn star and whose films are available on the internet will soon see their private life ruin their ability to teach. Students will find out about activities like this and any moral authority will be lost.
  • Teachers must be organized. Without a good system of organization and daily procedures in place, the job of teaching not only becomes more difficult but the teacher themselves could also be in professional jeopardy. If a teacher does not keep accurate attendance, grade, and behavioral records, this could result in administrative and legal problems.
  • Teachers are expected to keep student information private. This is especially true when dealing with students who have learning disabilities. Personal information is deemed to be private. Teachers can not only get into professional problems by being indiscreet but can also lose the respect of their students which will ultimately affect their learning.
It is not unreasonable to expect teachers to meet their professional obligations and responsibilities. Every career has its own level of responsibility. For example, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals have many similar responsibilities along with many others like patient and client privacy. The level of responsibility is commensurate with the amount of influence the professional teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc. have. If you expect to influence children and help them achieve their full potential, you must be a responsible adult who models excellent behavior for them.

In conclusion, the following quote seems quite appropriate. It is from a book by Chauncey P. Colegrove called The Teacher and the School. It was written in 1910, but the words still ring true today:

No one can justly expect that all teachers, or any teacher, shall endlessly patient, free from mistakes, always perfectly just, a miracle of good temper, unfailingly tactful, and unerring in knowledge. But people have a right to expect that all teachers shall have fairly accurate scholarship, some professional training, average mental ability, moral character, some aptness to teach, and that they shall covet earnestly the best gifts.
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