What do teachers do?
I'm wondering what teachers do. Do they just grade student's papers, or do they do something that doesn't have to do with anything that they're teaching? Do they do paperwork for the school? I'm asking this because I see most of my teachers sitting in their desks just typing stuff down and i just got curious.
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I'm a university teacher, and so my job is a bit different from that of a high school teacher, but I can give you a sense of what my main tasks are.
Class preparation: I design all of my classes, including creating a syllabus, deciding on readings, planning lectures, discussions and assignments, creating tests and assignment sheets, sometimes training teaching assistants, ordering textbooks, and creating and maintaining very elaborate websites for each of my courses. Every week, I review the assigned readings and write lecture and discussion notes for each class session.
Contact hours: This includes lectures, discussion sessions, office hours, and answering student emails. I also supervise graduate and undergraduate thesis projects (lots or reading and commenting and individual meetings) and do student advising.
Grading: I not only grade papers, I check for plagiarism and record grades in a spreadsheet.
Administration: I am normally on several committees including ones that plan the curriculum for my department, ones that review academic honesty cases, committees concerned with hiring and promotion of new professors, program review committees, etc.
Scholarship: I write essays, articles, book reviews, and books, and do translations of works from foreign languages, sometimes write textbooks, and spend at least an hour or two a day keeping up with reading about the most recent scholarly developments in my field. I also attend 2-3 academic conference a year to discuss my research with other teachers and learn about new teaching approaches and scholarship.
As a middle school teacher and former high school teacher, my answer will be somewhat the same and yet quite different. For class preparation, I have a curriculum to follow which is set up by a committee at the district level. I am allowed to be creative about how I present the material and how I keep students engaged in class. Many of the methods I use require preparation of materials, games or a way to make students move while yet making them learn. Student contact is the class hour I have them, before and after school, and often constant contact from parents which I need to answer. Grading is grading papers especially essays, checking on daily work, checking the progress of long term projects, and then grading at the end of the term. I have participated in many committees which must be done to keep many viewpoints on the discussion table. Team discussions or English department discussions are also part of the time used for committees. Middle school team meetings often focus on how to work with a particular student who is not currently successful. Often, other teachers can give you good ideas which work for them. Scholarship is taking classes to keep up with new ideas or strategies for teaching middle school students such as the idea of some students standing for the class because they can focus better than if they sit. Many records must be kept for either grades or information for parents or doctors. Teachers try to use every minute they can to accomplish whatever the task is. Middle school tends to focus more on the student while high school tends to focus more on the material being taught.
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