The job of teacher, for which patience is required, would not suit me.

Why don't we say "the job of a teacher"? As far as I know with professions we always use the indefinite article

  • 1
    While not directly an answer to the question asked, the most idiomatic way to say this would, in my opinion, be "teaching would not suit me." Apr 28, 2023 at 6:02

4 Answers 4


“The job of teacher” has essentially the same meaning as “the occupation of teaching,” whereas “the job of a teacher” is (often anyway) the same as “the responsibility or role that is expected of teachers.


The article in 'the job of a teacher, sailor, doctor, (or whatever) may be sometimes omitted. It is not compulsory, so whoever told you that 'with professions we always use the indefinite article' was mistaken. The job of a teacher is to educate children (article needed; focus is an individual teacher's daily work); the job of teacher is not well paid (article optional; focus is on the occupation).

  • Not only can the article sometimes be omitted, but also, sometimes the definite article can be used instead of the indefinite, so the OP's understanding is doubly mistaken. Apr 28, 2023 at 16:28

There are two slightly different meanings of "job" in those two phrases.

From Merriam-Webster:

1 a : a regular remunerative position
got a part-time job as a waiter
she quit her job

b : a specific duty, role, or function
The heart's job is to circulate blood.

"The job of teacher" is employment with the title "teacher". This means "The job called 'teacher' ". This is definition 1a. It's only about the position.

"The job of a teacher" is what that the person with the title "teacher" does or is expected to do. This is definition 1b. It's about what is expected from the teacher, including beyond the specific duties of the job itself, like meeting societal expectations or moral duties.

In your example sentence, it appears the word "job" only refers to the requirements of the job itself, not the expectations of society, so definition 1a is the correct one, and there's no article.

An example with definition 1b:

The job of a teacher is to improve the minds of their students.

That same sentence without "a" makes no sense.


As others have mentioned, they are often interchangeable. In your example, however, teacher works better. The article is not needed. There is a small difference between the two that a speaker may intend.

When I say the job of teacher, I am speaking about the profession called teacher. I might similarly say, the job of janitor or the job of banker. The text that follows would go on to discuss that profession. Your example discusses the profession called teacher.

When I say the job of a teacher, I am talking about a person who teaches, not a the profession called teacher. In your example you are not talking about a person who is a teacher. You are talking about the profession called teacher.

The sentence, The job of a teacher is to teach, makes perfect sense because we are talking about what a person's job is.

The sentence, The job of teacher is to teach, does not make sense because we are talking about he job itself. You would use it, The job of teacher is often an exciting one.

If your example used a teacher, it would still be clearly understood but it could be made clearer.

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