Lack of P in T
The simple meaning of professionalism, as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary is — the skill, good judgment, and polite behaviour that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well. Teachers and professors, laureates and visionaries, all are supposed to be an epitome of this definition. However, during any course on ‘teaching’ an additional course on professionalism is necessary. So What exactly is professionalism in teaching ? And what aspect of professionalism is most important ?
A teacher is a ‘role model’ and an ideal individual who the student aspires to be like. But what is happening these days ? Teachers, who are believed to be ‘mentors’ are bound to be respected since they impart the biggest gift of life — knowledge and wisdom.
Nevertheless, Failing to act professionally sets a bad example and may also cause teachers to lose the respect of their students. To retain the respect of the students and colleagues and provide the students with the best education possible, one should demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of their career.
To start off with the basics of professionalism, I would like to quote Edmond Mbiaka who says that, “Morality is the only way of life that guarantees happiness. Whoever doesn’t abide by it should never be taken as a role model or mentor, because it’s obvious they don’t have any positive purpose in life.”
I readily agree with Edmond because having ‘Morals’ is the biggest aspect of professionalism. Being a mentor or a guru requires the basic science of winning hearts and leadership. If a person fails to imbibe such qualities in life then there’s no way that they can lead themselves, let alone lead or mentor other people.
When asked students of a local high school, they told me that they had been victimised at least once by a teacher in their school. Why is that ? They also told me that they had been hurt by their harsh statements as well. Some of them being as harsh and cruel and definitely unprofessional as, “I do not work to please you” and “I don’t care whether you live or not”. I was amazed to hear statements such as “You are an idiot” and name-calling like “Buffoon head”. I don’t think that failing to ask the teacher before drinking water in class made the student’s head quite like a buffoon’s ! There are many more absurd and unnecessary remarks made by professors which impact the self image of students’ to whom they are passed. The result can also be a lack of interest in academics, hence, a great failure when it comes to teaching.
Ouch! That must hurt pretty bad !
They were however, appointed by a school, an intuition of knowledge. And that leaves us wondering whether the teacher selection process is flawed or the course in teaching failed to teach moral science to those who would be fostering the future of the world.
According to the Houston Chronicle, The signs of professionalism are ~
Appearance – Formals are usually preferred .
Interaction with students – Professional teachers do not let their desire to be liked by students get in the way of enforcing classroom and school rules.
They do not show favouritism or discriminate against students – When it comes to instruction, the teacher believes all students have the ability to learn and succeed, and fills lesson plans with strategies and materials to help make that happen.
Interaction with Colleagues – Teachers who are focused on professionalism are not solely focused on their own students and classrooms. They are also concerned with the school community and how they can work with their colleagues to create an environment that is focused on learning and success. They do not engage in gossip, arguments and other inappropriate behaviour with colleagues.
Professional Interests – They are committed to staying up-to-date on best practices and other strategies for teaching. They regularly read books, magazines and blogs about education and leadership, and conduct research to help improve their teaching methods and the performance of their students. They attend conferences, sometimes even as a presenter, and join professional organisations to connect with others in the field.
But most importantly, it is the character of the teacher that builds a student’s character and ensures the intellectual and emotional well being of the child.