Teaching roles

Generalist class teacher

A teacher who teaches all subjects of the National Curriculum to his or her class of children. Allows great flexibility and is often associated with the statement that 'I teach children not subjects'. Reflects the assertion of an important quality in the commitment of primary school teachers to the social and emotional development of children. Particularly common in work with young children, where the balance of advantage is seen to lie with generalism and knowing the personalities of the children very well.

Specialist subject teacher

A teacher who specialises in the teaching of a limited number of National Curriculum subjects and teaches them to several classes across the school. Part of a small team of specialist subject teachers so that the whole curriculum is covered by careful and rigid time-tabling. Strong in the preparatory tradition and becoming more common particularly in work with older children, where the balance of advantage is seen to lie with specialism and knowing the subject to be studied very well.

Semi-specialist teacher

A hybrid of generalist and specialist in which the roles are enacted selectively for particular purposes. For instance, four teachers in a junior school may teach English, maths and some topics which integrate history, geography, technology and art as a generalist to their own class. However, music, science, physical education and information & communication technology may be taught by these same four teachers, working in each others classrooms so that each can share a particular expertise which he or she has.