What Does A Geography Teacher Do?

"I want to be a teacher when I finish my postgraduate studies in geography. Can you please give me more information about the work responsibilities of geography instructors? What does a geography teacher do?"

asked by Alex G. from Ketchikan, Alaska

Individuals with a background in geography can teach the subject at the secondary and postsecondary levels. A bachelor’s degree in geography and a teaching certificate are the general requirements to qualify one to teach in public high schools while a PhD is typically required to teach at the postsecondary level. Before high school, geography is a subject that is taught by one teacher who also teaches science, math and others.

The main task of geography teachers is to provide students with lessons that teach them about the physical environment, climate, soil, population and other topics that are covered in this subject matter.

To be able to effectively impart these lessons, geography teachers prepare lesson plans and employ different techniques when presenting the topics to the students. These can include discussing the lesson with the entire class or in small groups, presenting visual aids, letting students discover new things through research and going on school-approved field trips.

Like other teachers, high school geography teachers also assess students’ learning by administering tests and giving assignments and projects. They also note the behavior of particular students in their class and share their concerns about misbehavior, poor academic performance or absences with the students’ parents. Postsecondary geography teachers may not be as meticulous in monitoring their students but they also grade student performance based on their compliance to various requirements.

In the classroom, geography teachers are responsible for maintaining order and making sure that all students are paying attention to the lesson. They see to it that when an activity needs to be done, the students must complete the task within the specified time frame. If there are materials that need to be manipulated, they also see to it that students know how to handle them and that these are returned to their correct areas in the classroom after the activity.

In this subject, learning only in the four walls of the classroom is often very limited. As such, geography teachers may organize field trips where they would bring the students to a geographical location to enrich their knowledge. In these outings, they are responsible for monitoring the students with the help of other chaperones. They may require a reaction paper or report to be passed after the activity to gauge what the students have learned.

Postsecondary teachers are also required to develop a syllabus for geography. They need to make sure that their instructional plan is in accordance with the school’s standards. If needed, they may also work with co-teachers in modifying or adding to the university’s geography program.

It is common to help and supervise graduate students who are striving to get their doctoral degrees. University geography teachers must also keep their knowledge about geography updated by doing their own research studies and getting these published in academic journals.

Career Spotlight: Geography Teacher

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