The role of teachers in education extends past the responsibility of passing along information. As the name suggests, the primary function of the teacher includes teaching a variety of facts and skills to students. Additionally, the teacher's role incorporates a multifaceted sense of purpose intended to encourage a child's social development. The age and grade level of the students directly affects the type of role the teacher plays in all aspects of education. The important role of the teacher in education delivers many benefits to children and parents, including students who possess special needs.
According to the 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers play a vital role in the formation of a student's potential. Kindergarten through secondary school teachers often provide the sole source of a child's learning experience, therefore taking on the important responsibility of cultivating knowledge in the students.
A classroom teacher guide published by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education describes at length the purpose of the teacher beyond the educator role. The teacher's deeper sense of purpose includes maintaining an attentive attitude towards conflicts between children. The classroom environment fosters numerous interactions between multiple children on a daily basis, creating the largest social component of a child's life. Shaping a child's social development therefore falls on the teacher, who takes on the role of mediator and coach.
The role of teachers in education changes according to the grade of the students. For example, The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the role of the teacher during a child's early years includes developing primary skills necessary for advancement. As the student progresses to middle school, the role of teacher expands to pass on information specific to a particular subject area. The responsibility of shaping the student's social development also changes as children age and become capable of making learnt choices.
Teachers take on the role of becoming a third parent to many students, both due to the extensive amount of time spent together as well as the needs of the child. A clear benefit to this role includes reinforcing the parent's desires and methods through communication.
Another benefit and role of the teacher helps children who lack a solid family structure. Teachers portray an image of accomplishment, especially for students in secondary school. Teachers also fulfil a child's need for a positive role model when the family fails to provide one.
A crucial role of the teacher in education consists of evaluating, assessing and providing for children with special circumstances. A child suspected of having a disability or suffering from abuse receives proper attention due to the responsibility of the teacher to intervene. In addition to evaluating suspected special needs children, the teacher works with parents and a team of specialists to provide the required assistance for students who already have a diagnosis.
- U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition: Teachers - Kindergarten, Elementary Middle and Secondary
- Government of Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Learning : Social Sciences: Psychology 20: Teacher's Roles
- Education Resources Information Center: The Teacher's Role in the Social Development of Young Children. : II. General Teaching Strategies: Optimum Teacher Intervention