Career Development

What Does a Lead Teacher Do?

Find out what a lead teacher does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a lead teacher.

Lead teachers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of their classroom or department. They commonly manage a team of teachers and other staff, such as paraprofessionals or instructional aides.

Lead teachers may also be tasked with developing curriculum, planning lessons, and assessing student progress. In addition to these duties, they must ensure that students in their class or department are receiving an appropriate education—this means ensuring that all students meet state standards and have access to the resources they need to succeed.

Lead Teacher Job Duties

A lead teacher typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing curriculum, lesson plans, and activities to meet the needs of individual children in the classroom
  • Maintaining a safe classroom environment by enforcing rules and procedures
  • Working with families to solve behavioral problems that are disrupting the classroom environment
  • Establishing a positive relationship with each student and their parent or guardian
  • Providing individualized attention to students with special needs
  • Assessing student progress and providing feedback to parents
  • Observing and evaluating each child’s behavior to determine if any action should be taken to improve his or her performance in class
  • Teaching children basic academic skills such as reading, writing, and math
  • Supervising and mentoring other teachers, teaching assistants, and paraprofessionals

Lead Teacher Salary & Outlook

Lead teachers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of school they work in. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $33,141 ($15.93/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $58,000 ($27.88/hour)

The employment of lead teachers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for early childhood education services will continue to increase as more parents recognize the importance of early learning and as states seek to improve the quality of childcare programs. In addition, demand for lead teachers is expected to increase as more states require early childhood education teachers to have a bachelor’s degree.

Lead Teacher Job Requirements

A lead teacher typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: While there are no specific education requirements to become a lead teacher, many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. These programs typically include coursework in teaching methods, classroom management, assessment and classroom technology.

Training & Experience: Most lead teachers receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other teachers in their school. This training helps the lead teacher learn the school’s policies and procedures and how to handle common situations. The training may also help the lead teacher learn how to use the school’s computer systems and other technology.

Certifications & Licenses: Employers may prefer that you obtain certification, particularly in early childhood education. A lead teacher is typically found in an elementary or preschool setting, so holding this certification shows that you have knowledge in teaching strategies for this age group and an understanding of early childhood development.

Lead Teacher Skills

Lead teachers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another skill that can help you be an effective leader. You can use your communication skills to convey information to your team, including lesson plans, classroom rules, expectations and other important details. You can also use your communication skills to listen to your team and address their concerns or questions.

Collaboration: Collaboration is the ability to work with others to achieve a common goal. As a lead teacher, you may work with several other teachers to manage a classroom. You may also work with administrators to develop curriculum or plan professional development for your staff. Being able to collaborate with others can help you achieve your goals and improve the learning environment for your students.

Organization: Organization is another skill that can help you be an effective leader. You can use organization skills to plan and execute activities, manage your time and keep your classroom clean and safe. Organization can also help you be a successful delegator, as you can delegate tasks to other staff members and ensure they are completed.

Creativity: As a lead teacher, you can use your creativity to develop lesson plans, activities and projects for your students. Creativity can also help you come up with ways to engage your students and keep them interested in their learning.

Leadership: Leadership is the ability to motivate and inspire others to work together to achieve a common goal. As a lead teacher, you may be responsible for training and developing other teachers, so it’s important to be a good leader. You can use your leadership skills to help your team work together to overcome challenges and achieve success.

Lead Teacher Work Environment

The lead teacher is responsible for the educational program in a classroom, which may include up to 30 students. The lead teacher plans and implements the curriculum, evaluates student progress, and supervises the work of teaching assistants. The lead teacher also meets with parents to discuss their children’s progress and works with other teachers in the school to develop instructional programs. The lead teacher typically works a ten-hour day, which includes a one-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks. The lead teacher may also be required to work some evenings and weekends to attend meetings or participate in school activities. The lead teacher’s work is challenging and demanding, but also very rewarding.

Lead Teacher Trends

Here are three trends influencing how lead teachers work. Lead teachers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Attention to the Arts

The arts are becoming increasingly important in schools, as they can help students develop skills that are essential for success in today’s economy.

Lead teachers who are able to incorporate the arts into their curriculum will be highly valued by schools, as they will be able to provide students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the future. In addition, lead teachers who are passionate about the arts will be more likely to inspire students to pursue their passions and create a positive learning environment.

More Focus on Collaboration

As schools become more focused on collaboration, lead teachers will need to find ways to encourage teamwork among their students.

This trend is being driven by the realization that students learn and grow most effectively when they are working together. As a result, lead teachers will need to find ways to promote collaboration within their classrooms while also providing opportunities for students to work independently.

A Greater Emphasis on STEM Education

The demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is growing rapidly, as businesses realize the importance of these subjects in the modern workforce.

As a lead teacher, you can capitalize on this trend by ensuring that your students receive a solid foundation in these subjects. You can also help parents and administrators understand the value of STEM education, and support initiatives that promote it.

How to Become a Lead Teacher

A career as a lead teacher can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to consider all the factors that will influence your success in this role, including the school district you work for, the grade level you teach, and the subject area you teach.

You should also think about what type of support system you have in place. Do you have access to professional development opportunities? Are there other teachers who can serve as mentors? What is the culture like at your school district? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself before accepting a lead teacher position.

Related: How to Write a Lead Teacher Resume

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this career is to move from teaching a lower grade to a higher grade. Some lead teachers may also move into administration, such as becoming a principal. Other lead teachers may move into teaching at a higher level, such as becoming a professor at a university.

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