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What is the role of a primary teacher?

Updated April 17, 2017

Teaching children between kindergarten level and grade five, a primary teacher, also known as a grade-school teacher, is responsible for a class of usually 25 to 30 students. Primary teachers are brought into the job by a love of working with children and of impacting their lives in a positive way.

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Wherever they are working, primary teachers are presented with a plan of what must be taught during the school year so each student may proceed to the next stage of his education. Teachers must plan lessons to accommodate this curriculum and implement these plans in the classroom environment.

Accommodating Students

Students have different levels of ability. Some may excel at certain subjects but be weak at others. Part of the teachers' role is to build lessons that reflect this and ensure that each student is given enough help to allow her to keep up with the rest of the class. Teachers must also be aware of any cultural differences and incorporate this into their teaching.


As well as helping children to learn academic subjects such as math and science, a primary teacher has an equally important role in nurturing a child's social and emotional development, particularly at a young age. Children are aided by their teacher in learning about right and wrong and about how to play and interact with other children and adults.


A primary teacher must control her class, not only to ensure that all children have a fair chance to learn and are not disrupted but to install in children a sense of the benefits of discipline. This may require punishment, such as detention, as appropriate.


As the school year progresses, it is a vital duty of the teacher to monitor the learning achievements of each student and decide which areas, if any, require further help or instruction. Depending upon the age level being taught, there may be standardised exams for which students must prepare. So, each student's progress will need to be checked and recorded on a regular basis, which will involve marking work and giving feedback to students.


As well as recording a student's progress, the teacher must report to each child's parents to let them know how their child is doing in class. The teacher must answer any concerns parents may have and seek to resolve any such issues as they arise.

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About the Author

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.

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