Being a class teacher – that means not only various obligations but also a variety of opportunities to shape and move something. In this article you will find out what to expect in this special role and how you can find your own profile.
Being a class teacher – duty or pleasure?
Is it rather an unwelcome fate at your school or perhaps even an honour to be appointed class teacher? It is actually very different whether the colleagues are fighting for this office or hoping that they will be “spared”. The fact is, of course, that being a class teacher takes time and effort. However, most “full-blooded class teachers” are happy to invest them – because they consider their work to be important and extremely worthwhile.
The duties of a classroom teacher
Exactly which responsibilities and tasks you have to deal with varies a little – depending, for example, on the age of the students or the situation in the class. If you take on a 5th grade, you will certainly be more challenged in other areas than, for example, in the 10th grade.
In general, however, it can be said that the office of class teacher always entails communication and organizational tasks. Discussions with students, counseling sessions with the parents, the exchange with the teaching staff and the organization of everyday school life and, for example, excursions are just a few items on the to-do list of a class teacher. Ideally, as the class teacher, you are a person who really trusts you – for the students, but often also for the parents.
Hand in hand with parents and colleagues
Communication between school and parents is usually the job of the class teacher. So you pass on information letters, appointments and all important news; If necessary, they set the telephone or mailing chain in motion; They keep the class lists; You have an overview of the family environment of your students and keep an eye on possible abnormalities of your protégés (such as delays, times of absence, willingness to perform, etc.). They keep in constant contact with their parents; They take care of the parents’ evenings and class guardianship evenings, the counseling sessions and, if necessary, inform the teaching staff or the school management about matters worth knowing or urgent matters. The organization of parents’ evenings, class trips and school celebrations as well as the preparation of (certificate) conferences are primarily in your hands.
You are in close contact with your colleagues and ensure that everyone pulls together to implement the agreed strategies. They discuss the rules of conduct for a uniform approach (what should the greeting look like at the beginning of the lesson? How is the class register kept? When are class tests announced? …). They keep track of the behaviour and performance of each student and provide clarification on the official route if something needs to be clarified.
Contact person and initiator for the students
For the students in your class, you are the most important school reference person. You hold personal discussions and know your students with their strengths and weaknesses, but also with their wishes and concerns. You will also work with the students to establish basic rules for good cooperation and ensure that they are observed. They continuously work to create a positive class climate in which every student can feel comfortable. A suggestion box, a class council or the introduction of mediators can be very helpful – and here, too, your initiative as a class teacher is required.
Find your own style
Certainly, there are some criteria that every “good class teacher” should meet – for example, enjoying working with children and young people, being willing to listen and being a teacher helps a lot. But even good class teachers are different, they set different priorities, have different approaches and an individual style. To develop your own profile, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your expectations of your class?
- What can you do to meet these expectations?
- What should and can students do?
- What can colleagues who also teach in the class contribute?
- What can parents do?
Then compare your expectations with the legal requirements defined in the state regulations. It says, for example, that the class teacher should pay attention to a balanced distribution of homework and should promote and coordinate contact with parents. However, you will not only find your duties in the stipulated legal requirements – you can also easily derive your rights as a class teacher.
Be sure to set realistic goals for yourself and adjust them based on your experience. What do you want to focus on for the first three or four weeks? What do you want to pay attention to in the first half of the year? What are your goals for the second half of the year? Don’t put yourself under too much pressure: no one is the perfect class teacher all of a sudden. Over time, if you notice things that you want to change, do so – but be as specific as possible. “I have to be nicer!” for example, is difficult to implement. “I wish my students good morning with a smile.” it certainly works better. Be patient and give yourself time to grow into your new role. You’ll see, it’s worth it!