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Primary Schoolteacher Duties and Responsibilities

Primary schoolteachers must complete several tasks in order to satisfactorily meet all job obligations. We have closely examined several job listings and have found the following to be those responsibilities most commonly mentioned for primary schoolteachers:

Develop Lesson Plans and Instruct Students The primary role of this occupation is to develop the materials and plans needed to teach students in various subject areas. Primary schoolteachers select reading and other materials, develop classroom activities, create classroom lectures, and choose topics of discussion. They apply appropriate teaching strategies for each subject and use methods to keep students engaged, encouraging class participation. They also assign homework and give and grade tests.

Assess Student Performance and Behavior Primary schoolteachers use keen observation skills to assess each student in the classroom. They chart behaviors and develop disciplinary programs to handle disruptive or unruly behavior. Primary schoolteachers also assess the progress of students' understanding of topics and their progress to determine if they are learning at an acceptable level and pace.

Oversee and Attend Meetings Primary schoolteachers have some responsibilities outside the classroom as well. They must contact parents with concerns or issues relating to their child, hold teacher-parent meetings as needed, submit reports to administrators, and attend staff meetings to learn of any school policy changes, teaching approaches, or other relevant topics.


Primary Schoolteacher Skills

Strong verbal and written communication, motivational, organizational, and leadership skills are among those most essential to primary schoolteachers. In this role, individuals should be energetic and enthusiastic, displaying a high level of tolerance, patience, and support. They should be good listeners and enjoy working with children. Primary schoolteachers should be comfortable interacting with those of various backgrounds and professional levels, from parents to school administrators. Besides these important abilities, primary schoolteachers must possess the following skills:
  • Creating lesson plans and assisting in curriculum development
  • Applying various instructional strategies
  • Completing student progress reports
  • Managing classroom activities and student behavior
  • Communicating with parents and guardians
  • Attending professional development classes and programs

Primary Schoolteacher Salary

As reported by the BLS, primary schoolteachers earn a median annual salary of $55,800. Those in the lowest 10th percentile of this salary range earn $36,560, while those earning in the top 10 percent can make $88,590. Northeastern and West Coast states tend to pay the highest mean annual salaries for this occupation, led by New York ($77,330), Connecticut ($76,740), and District of Columbia ($74,710). Those employed in Massachusetts and California are not far behind D.C., at $74,470 and $74,270, respectively.

Primary Schoolteacher Resources

It is helpful to review as many resources as possible when considering a career. Below we have provided links to books, blogs, and professional associations so you can learn more about becoming a primary schoolteacher.

National Education Association (NEA) - From classroom resources to teaching advice, this professional organization is a great support and reference for primary schoolteachers and teachers at other levels.

Association of American Educators (AAE) - This association has been providing professional development opportunities, publications, certification support, and more for teachers since 1994.

TEACH Magazine - A professional online publication containing articles addressing current trends, best practices, advice, and teacher development overviews relevant to primary schoolteachers.

Education Week - The teacher section of this online publication provides articles written by teachers and other professionals covering teaching strategies, technologies, classroom management practices, and so much more.

What the Teacher Wants - Presenting blogs written by a current

first grade teacher and a guest blogger with years of teaching experience, this site gives a personal look at the teaching strategies and daily tasks of a primary schoolteacher.

Teach123 - From lesson planning ideas to best practices in teaching, time management, and more, this blog gives a detailed and personal look at what it takes and means to be a primary schoolteacher.

Everything a New Elementary Schoolteacher REALLY Needs to Know (But Didn't Learn in College) - Filled with great tips covering everything from first-day jitters to parent-teacher meetings, this book offers a great glimpse into the daily life of a primary schoolteacher.

Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher - A detailed and insightful book offering overviews of classroom management, lesson planning, and the collaborative practices needed to be a successful teacher. One of the authors is a primary schoolteacher and gives information based on her own experiences.

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