Types of teacher

An overview of teaching roles in early childhood, primary school, high school and special education.

There are more than 1500 schools in Victoria, offering different types of teaching jobs.

Before you start studying to become a teacher, you'll need to decide what type of teacher you want to be.

Early childhood

  • You will likely work in long day care, kindergartens, playgroups, parent education or specialist children’s programs.
  • You work with children in individual or group programs that are developed to inspire, motivate and stimulate skill development and learning.


  • You have responsibility for a group of children, with most of the day spent with the one class.
  • There are opportunities for creativity in the classroom, devising programs that are exciting and challenging for students.
  • You are generally expected to teach in seven key learning areas: English, mathematics, science, technology, health and physical education, the arts, and studies of society and environment.
  • Some also qualify and work as specialists in art, music, languages other than English or physical education.
  • Most are also qualified to teach in the general classroom and may combine teaching a particular class with taking specialist classes.


  • You usually teach 2 or more subjects to a range of classes through to VCE level.
  • Some school time is allocated each week out of the classroom to plan and prepare lessons.
  • Secondary teachers have many opportunities for creativity, devising learning programs in their area of expertise that are exciting and challenging for their students. Many teachers get involved in extra-curricular activities - coaching a sporting team, helping with drama productions and participating in school camps.

Special education

  • You work with primary or secondary students with learning difficulties or who have a disability or impairment.
  • You may also teach students with exceptional intellectual gifts or those with specific problems with language
  • You have usually finished extra study to get qualifications in a particular special education field.
  • You may work in a specialist setting or mainstream school, in a regular classroom, with groups of students or on an individual basis
  • In mainstream schools, special education teachers are involved with the planning and implementation of inclusive programs to enable students with difficulties to function successfully in the regular classroom.
  • You work closely with mainstream staff helping with curriculum, assessment and reporting and often direct teaching, tutorial assistance and pastoral care.

What makes a good teacher?

Teachers need strong verbal, literacy and cognitive abilities to do their job well. Research indicates that good teachers also demonstrate these attributes:

  • Motivation to teach.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Willingness to learn.
  • Resilience.
  • Self-efficacy.
  • Conscientiousness.
  • Organisational and planning skills.

Universities and training providers consider academic and personal attributes when they select people for initial teacher education courses. This is a requirement of the Victorian framework for selection into initial teacher education.