Lead Teacher Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Lead Teacher, or Head Teacher, is a teacher who provides guidance and mentorship to other teachers in their grade level or subject. Their duties include writing lesson plans, managing classroom behavior and providing after-school tutoring.

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Lead Teacher duties and responsibilities

A Lead Teacher is responsible for taking the considerations of Teachers, administration and parents into account and using those preferences to craft educational structures that allow the students to learn. Lead Teachers still conduct their own classes like any other Teacher, but they also have additional responsibilities, such as:

  • Meeting with parents to discuss the goals and needs of students in their program
  • Coordinating with administration to create education plans for the students
  • Sitting in on the classes of other Teachers in an observational role
  • Using information from observations to help other teachers grow by noting ineffective areas and sharing alternative methods that are more successful
  • Assisting Teachers in the creation of lesson plans or in solving problems the Teacher is struggling to find a solution for
  • Tracking the academic performance of students for signs of progress
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What does a Lead Teacher do?

Lead Teachers work at pre-K, elementary, middle and high schools to teach age-appropriate knowledge and skills to groups of students and guide other teachers. Their role is to educate their class on subject-specific concepts and provide them with opportunities for social-emotional learning and development of life skills. Lead Teachers communicate with parents about their child’s progress and create action plans for addressing issues in behavior or academic performance. They develop worksheets and activities to help each student engage with educational content. Outside of the classroom, they supervise lunch, recess, field trips and passing periods.

Lead Teacher skills and qualifications

Because a Lead Teacher has to work with such a broad range of individuals from children to school administrators and also fills multiple roles, they must possess many skills to succeed:

  • Communication skills 
  • Strong teaching abilities
  • Leadership skills
  • Empathy
  • Decision-making skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Conflict resolution skills

Lead Teacher salary expectations

A Lead Teacher’s average salary is $12.78 per hour. Salaries depend on the school’s location and funding as well as the candidate’s level of education, years of experience in the classroom as well as years served in leadership roles.

Lead Teacher education and training requirements

In order to be considered for a Lead Teacher position, an individual will need to have completed at least their bachelor’s degree in an education field. To be hired at an accredited school, a Teacher will also be required to pass their state’s Board of Education Certification Exam. Candidates with a master’s degree can bring more advanced practice and knowledge to this role and the organization. However, exact education requirements may vary by state.

Lead Teacher experience requirements

Because a Lead Teacher role is an advanced position and also contains mentorship elements, it is common to require prior experience when listing a job opening. A qualified candidate will typically have several years’ experience working in the department for which they’re applying.

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Frequently asked questions about Lead Teachers


What is the difference between a Lead Teacher and a Teaching Assistant?

A Lead Teacher is in charge of instructing a classroom of students, while the Teaching Assistant supports them with administrative tasks, individualized student attention and behavior management. Lead Teachers are fully certified by the state board, while Teaching Assistants are often still in the process of getting official certification. During class time, a Lead Teacher might teach a group lesson while the Teaching Assistant helps individual students with specific questions or issues they are having with the content. Lead Teachers have control over the content of the lessons and have authority over the Teaching Assistant when disciplining students.


What are the qualities of a good Lead Teacher?

Excellent Lead Teachers are passionate about teaching their subject and care about the success of their students. They are personally invested in helping their students learn and grow, and treat all students fairly and equitably. They are compassionate and understanding and are able to mediate when conflicts occur between students. Good Lead Teachers are knowledgeable about the developmental stages of their students and able to adapt their teaching style to suit the individual learning needs of their pupils. They work as a team with parents and other teachers to ensure students are getting their needs met at school.


What are the daily duties of a Lead Teacher?

Lead Teachers arrive at school early to prepare lesson plans, assist with student drop-off or supervise students in the cafeteria eating breakfast before class. They set up the desks in their classroom to best suit that day’s activities, then welcome students and help them get settled at their desk. They pass out any worksheets or other materials, teach group activities and help redirect off-task behavior. During passing periods, Lead Teachers help monitor behavior in the hallways or prepare the lesson for the next class. They meet with new Teachers to help them acclimate and develop their skills.


Who does a Lead Teacher report to?

Lead Teachers generally report to the school’s Principal. They may also meet with school district administrators such as the Superintendent to discuss the challenges their fellow teachers and students face and seek out additional support or training.

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