For example, say a class is made up of half Spanish-speaking children, and half Japanese-speaking children. Lessons need to be planned out so that children of both languages can read, understand, and solve the problems they are given. This often means typing up the papers in both languages. There is software that you can buy to do this, and the school may do it themselves, but many times the duty falls to the instructor.
When conferences are held with the parents of these children, the instructor needs to be able to speak both languages fluently. It is also a requirement that they understand how to write and read the language better than their students. Failure to do so can cause communications problems and issues with both students and parents. Although most schools do offer training programs, it's ultimately the instructor's responsibility to ensure they can communicate properly with their students and their parents.
Being able to read and write the respective languages is very important, not just for meetings but for other problems as well. Some children may have health problems or other issues may arise from them getting into fights. You need to be able to read the contact information on the child's files in order to call his or her parents. While it may seem like an over emphasis on the subject many bilingual instructors do not have full grasp of the languages of their students.
Aside from the above example, the responsibilities are generally the same as any other instructor in the field. You have to make sure everyone is accounted for on field trips and told to be quiet on trips to the library. If your class is younger then you have to ensure that everyone gets a trip to the bathroom at least twice a day. These are all general tasks that are performed with every instructor in every school.
The teacher of any bilingual class has their work cut out for them in the long run. However, it's not always a one sided learning experience. While teaching the students and furthering their education the instructor also gets to learn things as well. When instructing kids of various languages you often learn much about their ways of life and insight into their culture.
Having respect for their culture is extremely important not just for the students but for the parents as well. If you show that you are being respectful of their ways, and try to understand the student as much as possible, their parents will get along with you a lot better. Many instructors in various parts of the world simply do not care about their student's culture. This can lead to very tense relationships with the parents and a very poor developmental experience for the students.
The main reason you have to be so careful around students of certain upbringings is that certain things are not socially acceptable to be taught in their cultures. There may be certain scientific restrictions, moral restrictions, belief restrictions, and problems with other ways of a life. A good instructor has to be flexible in their response to this and find ways to get the lesson plan across, but not go over the line. It's a very hard line to walk and those that do it well are often under appreciated.
The most complicated yet most rewarding duty is helping the students to understand each other's language. The reason for this is one of the most basic and innocent of all. They simply want to talk to the person that is different from them. It's by far no easy task, but success in this endeavor will help the children throughout their lifetimes.
So if your child is in a bilingual class, take some time to understand the teacher. They have to cover so many categories when teaching your children that it can be overwhelming. Furthering their education can be hampered at times because of the language barrier. Learning the other language for yourself can also have the benefit of aiding your child's progress.