The role of the teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional qualifications or credentials from a university or college. These professional qualifications may include the study of pedagogy and the science of teaching. Teachers, like other professionals, may have to continue their education after they qualify, a process known as continuing professional development. Teachers may use a lesson plan to facilitate student learning, providing a course of study is called the curriculum.
A teacher’s role may vary among cultures. Teachers may provide instruction in literacy and numeracy, craftsmanship or vocational training, the arts, religion, civics, community roles, or life skills.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
― Malala Yousafzai
A teacher who facilitates education for an individual may also be described as a personal tutor, or, largely historically, a governess. In some countries, formal education can take place through home schooling. Informal learning may be assisted by a teacher occupying a transient or ongoing role, such as a family member, or by anyone with knowledge or skills in the wider community setting. Religious and spiritual teachers, such as gurus, mullahs, rabbis, pastors/youth pastors, and lamas, may teach religious texts such as the Quran, Torah, or Bible.
Teaching may be carried out informally, within the family, which is called homeschooling, or in the wider community. Formal teaching may be carried out by paid professionals. Such professionals enjoy a status in some societies on par with physicians, lawyers, engineers, and accountants. A teacher’s professional duties may extend beyond formal teaching. Outside of the classroom teachers may accompany students on field trips, supervise study halls, help with the organization of school functions, and serve as supervisors for extracurricular activities. In some education systems, teachers may have responsibility for student discipline. Around the world, teachers are often required to obtain specialized education, knowledge, codes of ethics, and internal monitoring.
There are a variety of bodies designed to instill, preserve and update the knowledge and professional standing of teachers. Around the world many governments operate teacher’s colleges, which are generally established to serve and protect the public interest through certifying, governing, and enforcing the standards of practice for the teaching profession.