"The teacher is looking at a map."
Translation:선생님은 지도를 보고 있습니다.
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에 sort of means to location wise. This case, you would use 를/을 because it means to but action wise (as in the action is happening to the object) As in 하늘에 가! (Go to the sky!) and 나를 봐! (Look at me!) - the action of looking is happening to me. Can also be translated as Me to look, or to make it make sense look to me. I hope this helps, I'm not a native speaker this is just what I've gathered so far.
It is interesting to see folks with no authority make authoritative statements. I have no authority other than some study and experience, both of which indicate John's statement should not have been contributed to this conversation. 은/는 can certainly be used to indicate the subject of a sentence, but that is by no means the major function of the particle. Most instructors would say it is a "topic" indicator. It is also used for contrast or emphasis and can be used throughout a sentence and appended to various parts of a sentence.