The primary school teachers

Primary education is a process that takes children as they are, and leads them towards what they can become. It starts from a context and moves towards an aim. There may in fact be a series of contexts and a number of aims, but that basic model of the process of primary education remains the same. Primary teaching is the most creative career and primary school teacher has to be very good and lovely.
Primary teachers usually take responsibility for a group of children, spending most of their day with the one class. They have many opportunities for creativity in the classroom, devising programs that are exciting and challenging for their students.
Primary teachers are generally expected to teach in seven key learning areas: English, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Health and Physical Education, The Arts, and Studies of Society and Environment.

The primary school teacher as professional

We can define professionality at this point as the set of professional knowledge, skills and vaalues entailed in proffessional practice. One is thus concerned with exploring the degree to which primary scool techers have, over recent years, been upgrading their knowledge, enhancing their skills and developing the values tat are inherent in truly proffesional work. In

n the first place, although the study of teachers and teching in Europe has in recent years developed to the degree that makes a volume such as this possible, there are not yet sufficient comparative data to enable detailed comparisions to be made across system and over time. But more important is the fact that professionality remains a contested concept. The teacher’s job is very hard and responsible so they must be professional in own job.
The teacher’s role in most societes has been undergoing considerable expansion. This role has perhaps occurred most clearly at the secondary level, but the primary school teacher is also beset by increasing expectations, not only in terms of subject matter knowledge. The areas in which thhe teacher’s role has been under pressure to expand include the following: responsiveness to parental expectations, social education, pastoral care, curriculum development, school management, technological development, assessment, links with other priffesionals in the social and welfare fields, combating discrimination, and professional development.
European countries tend to have flat career structures for primary school teachers. In some system, career achievement is seen in terms of a move from primary school teaching into teaching in the lower secondary school, a move that is re
elated to achievement in an academic subject. Although it is a contentious matter, there is perhaps a case for increasing the career opportunities of teacher within the primary sytem, so long as – and this is the practical difficulty – progression is associated with increased professionality achieved through proffesional development.
The teaching lacks the status of the primary education and other proffesions has been attributed to a varety of factors. These can be grouped as follows:
• Knowledge and skill: Teachers are regarded as needing a lower level of expertise than major professionals.
• Autonomy: Teachers are seen as being more bureaucratically constrained than proffesionals in private practice and even professionals employed in organisations.
• Characteristics of teacher: The social class background and educational achievements are lower than those of the major professions and theis personality characteristics are believed to be ‘unenterprising’.
• Client and client relations: The teacher’s clients are joung, captive and confronted in groups over a lenghty period of time and potentially prone to indiscipline.
• Intermediacy: The teacher stands in an intermediate relationship with the wider world into wich their charges will eventually pass. They are intermediate between the world of non – work, the moral world of the school and the less fastidious world outside, and the world in wh
hich knowledge is create and the world in which knowledge is used.
• Size: Teaching is by far the largest of the professions.
• Careers: The circumstances of appointment, lack of career opportunities, the lack of clear criteria of success and the relatively low salaries of the majority of teachers compared with salaries in other professions.

The status of primary school teacher

The status of the teacher is a policy issue, not least for the primary education sector. Enhanced status is important to the teachers themselves in so far as it is an indicator of the worthwhileness of theirs work in the eyes of society at large and, therefore, enhances the intrinsic satisfaction of teching – and perhaps also extrinsic rewards – but it is also important in that the higher the status of teacher the more influential is their proffesion likely to be. Occupational status is the standing of an occupation in relation to others within and across societies.

Teachers as policy – makers in practice

A further model of the role of teachers in education policy – making is one which we have called ‘teachers as policy – makers in practice’. This model does not see teachers as mechanistically implementing policy more or less successfully and does not see teachers as ty

ypically resisting or transforming policy. It is related to the notion of partnership but is more informal and individualistic and arises from the nature of teaching rather than from deliberate choices by partners.

This model draws on the way that teachers, along with people in similar service – oriented occupatons such as social workers, doctors and the police, are constantly making choices and decisions about the way in which they carry out their work. These choices are not optional and are only partly derived from a tradition of professional autonomy. The practical reality of teachers’ working situations is such that these choices and decisions arise inevitably, to an extent that peaple are probably not aware for most of the time that they are being made. The job of teaching, like many service – oriented professional occupations, potentially expands indefinetely in the sense that the level and range of activities in which they could engage and the demands they could meet are far beyond the time and resource available to them. Consequently, teachers must ration their time and prioritize their tasks. They also have to establish school and classroom routines, ways of getting the business of the day accomplished, in order to make sense of the constant demands on them.

Teachers as opponents of government policy

A third model of teachers and education policy casts teachers in an oppositional role with regard to current education policy developments. Teachers in this model are seen as resisting the imposition of policy changes. Resistance can be sees as the mirror image of implementation and, like the implementation model, comes in both left–wing and right-wing versions. In the left–wing version, teachers are cast in a potentially heroic mould, acting collectively through unions or other political groupings to prevent the imposition of change. Such resistance is held to be in the interests of pupils and frequently is explicitily intended to advance other political agendas such as equal opportunities and anti-racist approaches to education.

Teachers as partners

The notion of a partnership between teachers and other actors in the educational policy-making process has informed a number of discusions of policy-making, in practicular those of the 1960s and 1970s. The notion of partnership derives from a pluralist coception of the of the policy-making process, involving a degree of decentralized and ‘distributed’ power. Partnership does not exclude conflict, but it does mean that various actors must see each other’s roles as legitimate and that there must be a measure of agreement about common goals. Partnership models are typically characterized by a degree of ambiguity about the boundares of influence of different actors and shifts of these boundaries in practicular circumstances.

Until recently, analysts of educational policy-making agreed that the process was characterized by a partnership between central and local government. Teachers were generally, although not universally, seen as also being partners in education policy.

Insofar as the teacher partners are the teachers unions, this end of partnership seems undenliable. However, it is not necessarily the case that the less clearly defined notion of partnership with schools can be regarded as having disapeared. In the interviews with primary school teachers and headteachers conducted during the period of implementation of the National Curriculum, no mention was made of teacher associations or the representative role of teacher unions in policy-making. However, some teachers and headteachers responded interms of a positive professional engagement with change.

Teachers as implementers of education policy

A contrasting model to that of teacers as partners in educational policy making is a model which sees the role of teachers as being to implement decisions about education taken elsewhere. Such a model informs the thinking both of those who see it as the appropriate role for teachers nad some of those most critical of current development.

Longitudinal data on pupils over four years in primary schools shows an accomodation to schooling and a progressive adaption to the realities of classroom life and techer control. In this and the previous book they have documented the professional ideology of teachers coming into play to mediate the impact of National Curriculum changes on pupils. This reflect a protective insistence that the interests of children come first. Ironically, however, a pupil perspective on classrooms is one of adapting their expectations and behaviour to the realization that they must pay prime attention to the classroom requirements of teachers.

Primary and others schools educators from Lithuanian Training Institute

Every year 30 thousand educators from Lithuania and other countries attend about thousand events based on various courses, projects and programmes organized by Teacher Professional Development Center (TPDC). TPDC is 51 years old (established in 1950, October the 1st) budgetary adult education institution, which is directly subordinated to Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania.
TPDC for a long time was the only such an institution in Lithuania. At the moment TPDC is the national institution which provides specific service package – ensure both re-qualification, diverse professional development of teachers, educators, specialists, heads of the educational institutions and effective functioning of certification mechanism.
TPDC is one of the main institutions implementing modernisation of education and training, improvement of the quality of education and socio-pedagogical study conditions, and harmonisation of educational system, focusing on the needs and abilities/disabilities of children and preferences of educators, creating conditions for continuous teacher training and adult life long learning, promoting intellectual freedom and democratic relations.

********

So the personal qualities of successful primary teachers vary, but they do need to be of good character, ready to apply themselves in an enthusiastic and dedicated fashion and ready to work hard. To be a good teacher you must be able to relate well to young children and enjoy working with others. You need to be enthusiastic and creative. Patience, tact and a sense of humour will help you through the harder times. You should be willing to learn and ‘have a go’.
Principals will look for a range of skills as well as expertise when they are selecting staff. If you have outside interests, for example in sport or drama, you may be able to use these to advantage in the school.
All teachers also need to be confident users of computer technology. Good teachers are guides for students exploring and learning from the vast knowledge available not only in their local area, but also worldwide.

Summary

Primary education is a process that takes children as they are, and leads them towards what they can become. It starts from a context and moves towards an aim. There may in fact be a series of contexts and a number of aims, but that basic model of the process of primary education remains the same. Primary teaching is the most creative and responsibility career.
Primary teachers usually take responsibility for a group of children, spending most of their day with the one class.
Primary teachers are generally expected to teach in seven key learning areas: English, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Health and Physical Education, The Arts, and Studies of Society and Environment.
The primary school teachers have to be professional. We can define professionality at this point as the set of professional knowledge, skills and values entailed in proffessional practice. One is thus concerned with exploring the degree to which primary scool techers have, over recent years, been upgrading their knowledge, enhancing their skills and developing the values tat are inherent in truly proffesional work.
Secondly teachers as policy – makers in practice. A further model of the role of teachers in education policy – making is one which we have called ‘teachers as policy – makers in practice’. This model does not see teachers as mechanistically implementing policy more or less successfully and does not see teachers as typically resisting or transforming policy. This model draws on the way that teachers, along with people in similar service – oriented occupatons such as social workers, doctors and the police, are constantly making choices and decisions about the way in which they carry out their work.
Teachers as partners. The notion of partnership derives from a pluralist coception of the of the policy-making process, involving a degree of decentralized and ‘distributed’ power. Insofar as the teacher partners are the teachers unions, this end of partnership seems undenliable. However, it is not necessarily the case that the less clearly defined notion of partnership with schools can be regarded as having disapeared.
And finally teachers as implementers of education policy. A contrasting model to that of teacers as partners in educational policy making is a model which sees the role of teachers as being to implement decisions about education taken elsewhere. Such a model informs the thinking both of those who see it as the appropriate role for teachers nad some of those most critical of current development.
So every year 30 thousand educators from Lithuania and other countries attend about thousand events based on various courses, projects and programmes organized by Teacher Professional Development Center.
So the personal qualities of successful primary teachers vary, but they do need to be of good character, ready to apply themselves in an enthusiastic and dedicated fashion and ready to work hard. To be a good teacher you must be able to relate well to young children and enjoy working with others. You need to be enthusiastic and creative.
Vocabulary

to entail – sukelti
to upgrade – kylantis, progresuojantis
inherent – būdingas
sufficient – pakankamas
comparative – lyginamasis
responsible – atsakingas
to undergo – patirti, pergyventi
considerable – žymus, didelis
expansion – padidejimas, plitimas
increasing – augantis
to expand – išplėsti
responsive – reaguojantis
parental – tėviškas, kilminis
expectation – laukimas, galimybė
pastoral – kaimiškas
welfare – gerovė, (socialinis) aprūpinimas
combating – kovojantis
is regarded – yra gerbiamas
bureucratically – burokratiškas
unenterprising – pasyvus
captive – belaisvis
confronted – patekti
prone – linkęs, kniūbsčias
intermediacy – tarpinis
extrisic – išorinis
reward – atlygis
inevitable – neišvengiamas
policy-making – elgesio formavimas
deliberate – apgalvotas
consequently – dėl tos priežasties
opponent – priešininkas
cast – nukrypimas
to resist – priešintis
implementation – įgyvendinamas
wing – pusė
mould – forma
equal – tolygus
agenda – darbotvarkė
notion – sąvoka
ambiguity – dviprasmiškas
insofar – tiek kiek
undenliable – nepaneigiamas
headteacher – mokyklos direktorius
longitudinal – išilginis
accommodiation – patogumai
subordinate – priklausomas

Literature:

1. Brewster Jean “The primary English teacher’s guide”, 1992
2. Brewster Jean “Handbook of primary education in Europe”, 1996
3. Whitaher Patric “Teachers, pupils and primary schooling”, 1996
4. www.teaching.vic.gav.au/becometeach/primary/default.htm
5. www.teaching.vic.gav.au/becometeach/primary/character.htm
6. www.pprc.lt/english.html

Leave a Comment