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In education, teachers are those who teach students or pupils, often a course of study or a practical skill. There are many different ways to teach and help students learn. When deciding what teaching method to use, a teacher will need to consider students' background knowledge, environment, and their learning goals. See education for more.


Related positions

A teacher who registers a student, or who is positioned to help the student in a particular subject, is called a "tutor". A teacher or trainer from whom a student learns a great deal may be called a "mentor". (However this term is not used, in this context, in the UK.)

An "educationalist" is an educational theorist, writer or researcher.

In traditional China, the model teacher, Confucius, is greatly revered. A Chinese term for teacher is shifu or laoshi.

University teachers

Teachers in college are called instructors or lecturers. In the United States, the term "professor" is usually applied to college or university teachers that have received tenure; although, there are rankings from Assistant Professor through Full Professor that may be defined differently at various institutions.

Senior teachers

Teachers who look after the whole school are called head teachers, school principals or headmasters. The equivalent in colleges and universities is called the dean. Teachers of this status rarely teach students. A teacher in a grammar or public school in Britain may also be a Head of House. Houses were also used in secondary and comprehensive schools.

As with most large organisations a school needs a hierarchical structure of command, allowing matters to be delegated to a specific department or section of the school. In many cases there are deputy headteachers, heads of department (or subject, such as science or history) and heads of year. A head of year is in charge of the pastoral care of one year group.

Every school has a disciplinary procedure which dictates how punishments should be given to misbehaving students. One common method of coping with problems is the idea of escalation whereby the classroom teacher attempts to deal with the student(s) themselves before passing it on to a more senior teacher. Eventually, should the situation not be resolved, the headmaster becomes involved.

Emergency teachers

A teacher may be replaced by another teacher if they are absent due to an illness or planned absence. In the United States, replacement teachers are known as substitute teachers (or more informally as "subs"); in Australia and New Zealand, they are known as emergency or relieving teachers; in the UK they are generally known as supply teachers. Temporary, substitute teachers in universities are usually in forms of multiple guest lecturers.

These teachers often find it difficult to acclimatise to the new environment, often moving from one school to another week after week. They are often viewed badly by the students they are looking after with a "you're not my real teacher" attitude making behaviour management very difficult. In long term replacements, however, this quickly subsides.

Teacher trade union groups have expressed resentment towards the continuous use of supply teachers to satisfy long-term shortages when school administrations have resisted creating a permanent teaching position.

Qualificaiton and Registration

Teachers are usually educated in a university or college. Often they must be certified by a government body before they can teach in a school.


In Ontario, Canada, individuals who wish to teach need to be recognized by the Ontario College of Teachers in order to be qualified to teach in this province.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, teachers must have gained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). There are many paths in which a person can work towards gaining their QTS, the most popular of which is to have completed a first degree program (such as a BA or BSc) and then a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). Other methods include a specific teaching degree (BEd) or on-the-job training at a school.

United States

Teachers in New York State must have a Bachelor's degree and complete a Master's degree within five years. Additionally, to be permanently certified, teachers must pass three state exams on pedagogy, general knowledge and knowledge of a content area. In order to work in a public school a candidate must be fingerprinted.

World Teacher's Day

UNESCO inaugurated World Teachers’ Day on 5 October 1994 to celebrate and commemorate the signing of the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers on 5 October 1966. World Teachers’ Day also highlighted the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel adopted in 1997. Some countries such as Taiwan also celebrate Teacher's Day as a national holiday.


Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America by Abby Goodnough (PublicAffairs, 1586482599, 2004).

Burks, M.P., Requirements for Certification, Fifty-first Edition, 1986-87. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century. 1986. ED 268 120.

Feistritzer, C.E. The Condition of Teaching, A State by State Analysis. Laurenceville, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Holmes Group. Tomorrow's Teachers: A Report of the Holmes Group. 1986. ED 270 454.

Roth, R.R. and R. Mastain (Eds.). Manual on Certification and Preparation of Educational Personnel in the United States. Sacramento: National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, 1984.

See also

External links

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