Primary school teacher

A primary school teacher

Description

Primary school teachers instruct students on a primary school level. They develop lesson plans in line with curriculum objectives for the variety of subjects they teach, including mathematics, languages, nature studies and music. They monitor the students’ learning development and evaluate their knowledge and skills on the subjects taught through tests. They build their course content on the students’ knowledge of previous learnings and encourage them to deepen their understanding on the subjects they are interested in. They use class resources and teaching methods to create an inspiring learning environment. Primary school teachers also contribute to school events and communicate with parents and administrative staff.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to primary school teacher:

primary school music teacher
primary school educator
educator in primary school
primary education teacher
teacher in a primary school
music teacher primary school
educator in primary education
teacher in primary education
primary education professional

Working conditions

Primary school teachers work in primary schools, typically in classrooms filled with young children. They follow a school schedule, including vacations and holidays, and often work additional hours outside the regular school day for lesson planning and grading. The job can be emotionally rewarding but may also be physically and mentally demanding.

Minimum qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in education or a related field is generally required to work as a primary school teacher, as well as the completion of a teacher preparation program and, in some locations, a licensure or certification. Continuing education and professional development are encouraged to stay updated with teaching methods and practices.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Primary school teacher is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Primary school teacher career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to primary school teacher.

Steiner school teacher
early years teacher
Freinet school teacher
Montessori school teacher
special educational needs teacher primary school

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of primary school teacher.

  • Assessment processes: Various evaluation techniques, theories, and tools applicable in the assessment of students, participants in a programme, and employees. Different assessment strategies such as initial, formative, summative and self- assessment are used for varying purposes.
  • Learning difficulties: The learning disorders some students face in an academic context, especially Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and concentration deficit disorders.
  • Primary school procedures: The inner workings of a primary school, such as the structure of the relevant education support and management, the policies, and the regulations.
  • Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
  • Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of primary school teacher.

  • Manage children’s problems: Promote the prevention, early detection, and management of children`s problems, focusing on developmental delays and disorders, behavioural problems, functional disabilities, social stresses, mental disorders including depression, and anxiety disorders.
  • Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
  • Assign homework: Provide additional exercises and assignments that the students will prepare at home, explain them in a clear way, and determine the deadline and evaluation method.
  • Employ pedagogic strategies to facilitate creative engagement: Communicate to others on devising and facilitating creative processes through the use of a range of tasks and activities appropriate to the target group.
  • Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
  • Facilitate teamwork between students: Encourage students to cooperate with others in their learning by working in teams, for example through group activities.
  • Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
  • Teach primary education class content: Instruct primary school students in the theory and practice of a variety of subjects, such as mathematics, languages, and nature studies, building the course content based on students’ existing knowledge and encouraging them to deepen their understanding on the subjects they’re interested in.
  • Manage student relationships: Manage the relations between students and between student and teacher. Act as a just authority and create an environment of trust and stability.
  • Support the positiveness of youths: Help children and young people to assess their social, emotional and identity needs and to develop a positive self image, enhance their self esteem and improve their self reliance.
  • Adapt teaching to student’s capabilities: Identify the learning struggles and successes of students. Select teaching and learning strategies that support students’ individual learning needs and goals.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Maintain students’ discipline: Make sure students follow the rules and code of behaviour established in the school and take the appropriate measures in case of violation or misbehaviour.
  • Prepare youths for adulthood: Work with children and young people to identify the skills and abilities they will need to become effective citizens and adults and to prepare them for independence.
  • Implement care programmes for children: Perform activities with children according to their physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs by using appropriate tools and equipment that facilitate interaction and learning activities.
  • Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
  • Assist students with equipment: Provide assistance to students when working with (technical) equipment used in practice-based lessons and solve operational problems when necessary.
  • Demonstrate when teaching: Present to others examples of your experience, skills, and competences that are appropriate to specific learning content to help students in their learning.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
  • Assist students in their learning: Support and coach students in their work, give learners practical support and encouragement.
  • Apply intercultural teaching strategies: Ensure that the content, methods, materials and the general learning experience is inclusive for all students and takes into account the expectations and experiences of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. Explore individual and social stereotypes and develop cross-cultural teaching strategies.
  • Maintain relations with children’s parents: Inform children`s parents of the activities planned, program`s expectations and children`s individual progress.
  • Encourage students to acknowledge their achievements: Stimulate students to appreciate their own achievements and actions to nurture confidence and educational growth.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of primary school teacher. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Workplace sanitation: The importance of a clean, sanitary workspace for example through use of hand disinfectant and sanitizer, in order to minimise infection risk between colleagues or when working with children.
  • Musical instruments: The different musical instruments, their ranges, timbre, and possible combinations.
  • Children’s physical development: Recognise and describe the development, observing the following criteria: weight, length, and head size, nutritional requirements, renal function, hormonal influences on development, response to stress, and infection.
  • Musical genres: Different musical styles and genres such as blues, jazz, reggae, rock, or indie.
  • Musical notation: The systems used to visually represent music through the use of written symbols, including ancient or modern musical symbols.
  • Disability types: The nature and types of disabilities affecting the human beings such as physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional or developmental and the specific needs and access requirements of disabled people.
  • Common children’s diseases: The symptoms, characteristics, and treatment of diseases and disorders that often affect children, such as the measles, chickenpox, asthma, the mumps, and head lice.
  • Developmental psychology: The study of human behaviour, performance, and psychological development from infancy to adolescence.
  • Behavioural disorders: The often emotionally disruptive types of behaviour a child or adult can show, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).
  • Musical theory: The body of interrelated concepts that constitutes the theoretical background of music.
  • Special needs education: The teaching methods, equipment and settings used to support students with special needs in achieving success in school or community.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of primary school teacher. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Assist in the organisation of school events: Provide assistance in the planning and organisation of school events, such as the school’s open house day, a sports game or a talent show.
  • Teach arts principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of arts and crafts and the fine arts, whether recreationally, as part of their general education, or with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field. Offer instruction in courses such as drawing, painting, sculpting and ceramics.
  • Consult students on learning content: Take students’ opinions and preferences into consideration when determining learning content.
  • Assess the development of youth: Evaluate the different aspects of development needs of children and young people.
  • Improvise music: Improvise music during live performances.
  • Recognise indicators of gifted student: Observe students during instruction and identify signs of exceptionally high intelligence in a student, such as showing remarkable intellectual curiosity or showing restlessness due to boredom and or feelings of not being challenged.
  • Bring out performers’ artistic potential: Motivate performers to take on challenges. Encourage peer-learning. Establish an environment for experimentation using various methods, such as improvisation.
  • Escort students on a field trip: Accompany students on an educational trip outside the school environment and ensure their safety and cooperation.
  • Maintain musical instruments: Check and maintain musical instruments.
  • Liaise with educational support staff: Communicate with education management, such as the school principal and board members, and with the education support team such as the teaching assistant, school counsellor or academic advisor on issues relating the students’ well-being.
  • Support gifted students: Assist students showing great academic promise or with an unusually high IQ with their learning processes and challenges. Set up an individual learning plan catered to their needs.
  • Arrange parent teacher conference: Set up joined and individual meetings with students’ parents to discuss their child’s academic progress and general well-being.
  • Select artistic materials to create artworks: Select artistic materials based on strength, colour, texture, balance, weight, size, and other characteristics that should guarantee the feasibility of the artistic creation regarding the expected shape, color, etc. – even thought the result might vary from it. Artistic materials such as paint, ink, water colours, charcoal, oil, or computer software can be used as much as garbage, living products (fruits, etc) and any kind of material depending on the creative project.
  • Create craft prototypes: Fabricate and prepare prototypes or models of objects to be crafted.
  • Provide after school care: Lead, supervise or help with the assistance of indoor and outdoor recreational or educational activities after school or during school holidays.
  • Manage resources for educational purposes: Identify the necessary resources needed for learning purposes, such as materials in class or arranged transportation for a field trip. Apply for the corresponding budget and follow up on the orders.
  • Assist in children’s development of basic personal skills: Encourage and facilitate the development of children’s natural curiosity and social and language abilities through creative and social activities such as storytelling, imaginative play, songs, drawing, and games.
  • Play musical instruments: Manipulate purpose-built or improvised instruments to produce musical sounds.
  • Teach music principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of music, whether recreationally, as part of their general education, or with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field. Offer corrections while instructing them in courses such as the history of music, reading music scores, and playing a musical instrument (including voice) of specialisation.
  • Keep records of attendance: Keep track of the pupils who are absent by recording their names on a list of absentees.
  • Perform playground surveillance: Observe students’ recreational activities to ensure student safety and well-being and intervene when necessary.
  • Work with virtual learning environments: Incorporate the use of online learning environments and platforms into the process of instruction.
  • Advise on lesson plans: Analyse policy issues which impact on students’ experience of education. Advise on the ways in which lesson plans for specific lessons can be improved in order to reach education goals, engage the students and adhere to the curriculum.
  • Attend to children’s basic physical needs: Tend to children by feeding them, dressing them, and, if necessary, regularly changing their diapers in a sanitary manner.
  • Supervise craft production: Fabricate/prepare patterns or templates to guide the crafting production process.
  • Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
  • Oversee extra-curricular activities: Supervise and potentially organise educational or recreational activities for the students outside of mandatory classes.
  • Organise creative performance: Organise an event in which participants can express their creativity, such as putting on a dance, theatre, or talent show.
  • Develop course outline: Research and establish an outline of the course to be taught and calculate a time frame for the instructional plan in accordance with school regulations and curriculum objectives.

ISCO group and title

2341 – Primary school teachers


References
  1. Primary school teacher – ESCO
  2. How to Become a Primary School Teacher? – Indeed.com
  3. Featured image: Photo by Katerina Holmes
Last updated on January 4, 2024