Lead Teacher: Job Description and Duties of a Lead Teacher

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a lead teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Lead teachers are notable for their level of experience with education, students and school systems rather than any elevated degrees. They still need at least a bachelor's in their respective subject and if working within a public school, they must be licensed with their state.

Essential Information

Lead teachers are experienced educators who work with other teachers, administrators and parents to help both teachers and students have a positive, productive school experience. They might provide support for new teachers or for those dealing with a challenging population of students. Public school teachers need a bachelor's degree in education or in a subject they teach, along with teacher education training. They also need a teaching license from their state, which requires one or more examinations.

Required Education Bachelor's degree and teacher education program
Licensing Teaching license required to work in a public school
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teachers; 6% for high school teachers (does not include special education teachers)
Median Salary (2015)* $54,890 for elementary teachers
$55,860 for middle school teachers
$57,200 for secondary teachers (does not include special education and career/technical teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description of Lead Teachers

Lead teachers are usually tenured teaching professionals who have excellent teaching and leadership skills. They draw upon their teaching experience to serve as expert resources, mentors or counselors for new and developing teachers. For example, a lead teacher might help a struggling teacher focus on proven methods of teaching in order to make lessons more effective for students.

Lead teachers must be dedicated to the improvement of the teaching profession and able to provide constructive criticism and helpful solutions to other teachers without alienating or discouraging them. They should possess good observational and analytical skills and be able to offer fresh, creative solutions in difficult situations.

Job Duties of a Lead Teacher

The exact duties of a lead teacher vary by school district and department. In general, lead teachers observe department members in the classroom to determine sources of frustration and possible solutions. Some lead teachers split their time between working in their own classrooms and coaching other teachers. Lead teachers may offer direction in areas like course planning, professional development, special education, standardized testing improvement or other subjects, depending on the needs of the department. They also might serve as liaisons between teachers and administrators.

Lead teachers usually evaluate and track the progress of their department. They often are responsible for department meetings or curriculum planning. In some cases, lead teachers select appropriate materials and textbooks for their departments. They also might communicate with parents when necessary or help parents gain access to outside educational resources for their children. Lead teachers must ensure the confidentiality of all student and family information.

Educational and experience requirements for lead teachers vary, but they need a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a valid teaching certificate or license. With experience in a lead teaching, one might move on to hold a position as a school administrator or another advanced education position, such as instructional coordinator.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that positions for most types of kindergarten and elementary teachers will increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, and similarly jobs for high school teachers will grow by 6%. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for secondary teachers was $57,200, and elementary teachers earned $54,890 as of May 2013.

Though exact responsibilities may vary, lead teachers use their experience in education to provide guidance and support to other educators and school administrators. Lead teachers need to possess a variety of skills, including communication, analytic and creative thinking skills.

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