Job description for a primary headteacher

Teaching can be a rewarding career for individuals who have the ability to communicate effectively and motivate and inspire their students. Teachers are responsible for providing instruction and materials to help students learn concepts in various subjects. A head teacher’s job, however, goes further in that the head teacher plays a leadership and management role for his school. A primary head teacher works with elementary-school students.


The duties of a head teacher include providing leadership for the other teachers and educators of a school, as well as managing the organisation of the school. She must consult with other school staff, the school board and students’ parents as necessary. Management of staff includes assigning specific duties to each staff member, handling employee absences and providing teachers with any necessary information. She is also responsible for selecting and implementing curriculum for the entire school and assessing this curriculum as well.

Head teachers must also ensure that all school staff are supervised and trained appropriately, and must complete performance appraisals as necessary. Other duties that may depend on the size and specific appointment include providing disciplinary action, monitoring student progress and managing relationships with other schools.


Many four-year colleges offer teacher-education programs that include the necessary student-teaching internship and licensure requirements. Different states have different requirements for certification in state schools, but they usually include a bachelor’s degree, a teacher-training program, supervised teaching experience and some type of technology training. In addition to educational requirements, head teachers also usually need a minimum of two years' teaching experience. More experience will make applicants more competitive. Private schools do not require teachers to be licensed.


The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary of elementary teachers as of May 2008 was £34,547 per year. However, shows that more years of experience equals higher wages: As of July 2010, teachers with 10 to 19 years of experience earn between £26,000 and £39,000 per year, and those with 20 or more years of experience earn up to £45,500 per year.

Work Environment

Head teachers who enjoy working with students and other professionals will find their career rewarding, even though it can be challenging at times. Many teachers work more than 40 hours per week, including time spent working at home. Most teachers work 10 months during the school year and have two months off during the summer, although some find other education-related work during this time.

Employment Outlook

The BLS reports that student enrolment through 2018 is expected to rise more slowly than in the past, although this will vary by region. Employment opportunities for all teachers are expected to grow by 13 per cent between 2008 and 2018, similar to the rate of growth in other occupations. Opportunities are expected to be more plentiful in rural or low-income areas where demand for qualified professionals is higher.

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About the Author

Alexandra Schmidt has been writing professionally since 2006, contributing to several online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and is pursuing her doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri.

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