School Professional Resources

The Role of General Education Teachers

Being a general education teacher is a rewarding career. General education teachers play a vital role in their student’s learning and development by delivering individualized education services to students of all ages and needs.

In this article, we will explore the duties and responsibilities of a gen ed teacher and the education requirements necessary to work in this field.

What is a General Education Teacher?

Most classes contain students with various backgrounds, abilities and needs. General education allows teachers to provide instruction that caters to all students, including students with disabilities.

Each student comes with their own unique learning style, so general education teachers create and carry out an individualized lesson plan for each student.

General Education Teacher Job Description

General education teachers are trained to provide differentiated instruction. They design, implement and administer lesson plans that cater to each student’s needs. Additionally, they monitor and report on their students’ progress.

General Education Teachers’ Responsibilities Include:

  • Assisting teacher with lessons and classroom activities 
  • Helping with reports, including IEPs 
  • Preparing the classroom setting 
  • Monitoring and engaging with children in class
  • Tracking students’ progress
  • Enforcing school policies
  • Preparing pupils for county and state exams

Some general education teachers choose to focus on specific fields of teaching that have additional responsibilities. For example, a general education teacher that focuses on reading would be considered a reading specialist, so their responsibilities would include tasks that focus on helping students improve their reading skills. 

As these teachers work with students with varying needs and abilities, it often includes helping them progress in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Role in the IEP Process

Individualized Education Programs, sometimes referred to as Individualized Education Plans, are used throughout K-12 education. These programs, protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), lay out the resources a child needs to succeed throughout their education.

A general education teacher’s role in an IEP is to (a) create a lesson plan that follows a student’s IEP and (b) ensure that the student progresses toward and meets the goals outlined in their IEP. They then make reports on the student’s progress and provide them to their parents or guardians. Gen ed teachers may also assist dedicated special education teachers in their job duties and responsibilities.

Requirements for General Education Teachers

The requirements to become a general education teacher include a bachelor’s degree in education and previous experience in a related field. Certain states also require specialization in an educational subject matter, such as history or science.

Some general education teachers have a master’s degree, however, this is not typically a requirement for employment.

There are several professional attributes that are important for a general education teacher to have including:

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Top-notch interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to manage time effectively and efficiently

General Education Teacher Salary

As of August 2022, the median salary for a general education teacher in the United States is $36,253/year or $17.43/hour, according to Zippia. The average entry-level salary for a general education teacher is $24,000 per year.

Of course, a general education teacher’s salary varies based on which state they are working in. According to Zippia’s information from August 2022, the highest earning general education teachers worked in California, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

A 7% growth through the year 2026 is expected for kindergarten and elementary general education teacher jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While wages and salaries vary from state to state, high school teachers receive a higher salary on average and can expect an 8% rate of growth in jobs.

Closing Thoughts 

In summary, general education teachers fill a critical role in the instruction of today’s students. Here are a few key takeaways to remember when starting out in the field to have a successful school year:

  • Know which students have a disability and which students are on an IEP plan
  • Have a basic understanding of the special education process
  • Understand the basics of special education
  • Know who your resources are in the school

To learn more about being a teacher and working in schools, check out our blog The Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher. To learn more about the special education field, check out some of our blogs here.

Click here to browse our general education jobs and to discover more about how you can become a general education teacher with ProCare Therapy!