What does a primary teacher do?

Teaching is one of the most varied and satisfying jobs out there. The role of the primary school teacher encompasses many aspects. Primary teachers are responsible for creating a positive learning environment, providing a pillar of support to K-6 students, and sparking their quest for knowledge. Teachers equip students with a range of basic numeracy, literacy, science and creative skills, to ensure they have a solid foundation of knowledge from which to build upon once they reach high school. Duties of a primary school teacher include creating lesson plans, marking and grading work, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of students in the classroom, and providing ongoing feedback to facilitate the development of young minds.

Tasks:

  • Creating lesson plans
  • Support students as they learn
  • Teach the K-6 curriculum
  • Maintain a high level of classroom discipline

What skills do I need to be a primary teacher?

The skills a primary teacher requires are adaptable approach across the entire education sector. It is hugely important that you understand the needs of your students, and you provide feedback in a constructive way that doesn't harm their self-esteem. You need to be organised and concise, so that you can provide students with meaningful tasks in appropriate contexts and timeframes. Above all else you need to be enthusiastic about your job and creative in your lessons. Teaching is a passion, and helping young minds learn should be your biggest priority.
Skills/attributes
  • Patience and understanding
  • Creative, flexible and enthusiastic
  • Highly organised
  • Passionate about education
  • Able to communicate clearly and concisely

Specialisations

The beauty of primary teaching is that the roles can vary and there are positions available in many different age ranges and at different academic levels. There is also a lot of career growth on offer, with upper management positions for those who are particularly career-driven.

Specialist primary teacher (music, art or PDHPE)

As a primary teacher you can specialise in a number of different disciplines such as music, arts and drama, or PDHPE; giving you the ability to combine any interests and hobbies you might have with your passion for teaching. Music teachers are often involved in teaching students how to read music, play instruments, or sing as a part of a choir; art primary teachers focus on developing the artistic and creative talents of students through self-expression and various art forms; while PDHPE teachers educate students on their own physical development and encourage students to engage in sports and athletics.

Teacher librarian – primary

A teacher librarian is responsible for the primary school's learning resources. They help students find and use information from a variety of sources, and help students discover new genres to read and topics to explore. They also assist other teachers with professional development and teach cross-curricular information literacy skills.

Primary school principal

As the principal of a primary school, you will be responsible for overseeing the welfare and performance of the whole school and its student body. You'll work with the teachers to ensure the curriculum is being followed and students are performing well. You will also arrange enrolment drives and fundraising programs. Primary school principals generally have extensive teaching experience, as well as excellent managerial skills.

Study pathways for primary teachers

To become a primary teacher, a tertiary qualification in primary or early childhood education is required. You will also need to have the ability to adapt and grow.

Getting Started

Vocational training gets you started in the education industry, and qualifies you to work as a teacher’s aide or in other education support roles.

Skill Building

By studying an undergraduate degree in education and specialising in primary teaching, you will be on your way to working as a qualified primary teacher.

Professional Development

Pursue high-level employment options by specialising in a range of different teaching niches.

Industry Recognition

To become a fully qualified primary teacher, you need to become registered in your state. You can find out more in the resources section.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your primary teaching career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for teaching jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

There has never a better time to become a primary school teacher. With jobs available all over Australia, and employment opportunities at all levels, a career in education offers strong future growth.