Category Archives: Contemporary issues

Are Teachers Professionals?

First to speak is Chris Christie, who is very passionate about the fact that teachers are hero’s and they care about their pupils. The fact he mentions ‘caring’ is very important as that leads me to believe that he does see teachers as professionals. As mentioned in my previous post (‘What makes a teacher who makes a difference’) caring about the children’s learning, development and general welfare is an essential part of what makes teaching a profession. Chris Christie also mentions how we value teachers which I think is important in today’s society as they are becoming more and more valued and seen as professionals. This may be because being educated and having qualifications/degrees is fast becoming the norm in order to get a good job. I also find it important how he mentions that teachers should be paid what they are deserved and more because in terms of a profession many would say they are underpaid especially considering they’re only paid for classroom hours, however, as established earlier teaching is very much a profession you take home. Therefore, in terms of how teachers pay is calculated you could argue that teaching isn’t a profession.

Next we heard from Karen Lewis who made it clear from her opening line that she thinks teachers aren’t professionals – “I am a worker…I used to say I am teacher.” This could suggest that previously she did regard her job (teaching) as a profession but now she sees herself as nothing more than a worker. Karen states very clearly that “if you punch a clock you are a worker”. I understand where she’s coming from as you would say a ‘worker’ is paid for the hours they are at work whereas for a professional it’s more complicated than that. A professional takes their work home at the end of the day; their work is a part of their life and who they are. Therefore, Karen thinks teachers aren’t professionals because they pay for the hours they’re in the classroom teaching.

Personally, I think there’s no right answer to whether teachers are professionals or not. There is no obvious line that allows you to differ professionals from workers. It’s very much a personal opinion and very complex to determine.

Professionalism & Teaching.

In the video ‘Professionlism (teachers say)’ teachers give their different opinions on what it means to be a professional in today’s world. Firstly, Miss Catherine Long mentions that teachers are becoming more noticed in society as society becomes more educated. Teachers are also being represented more as professionals. I agree with Catherine here as years ago you wouldn’t need as much training as you do now to be a teacher. Over the years, more has been demanded from teachers and this is reflected in the way they are trained. Not just anyone can be a teacher, more and more is constantly required. Catherine goes on to say how there is a benchmark for teachers nowadays where they are ranked on how their pupils perform. Personally, I think this puts a lot more pressure on the teachers to individualise their learning and environments. How a child performs, however, can be based on genetics or how they were brought up. Therefore, a child performing bad shouldn’t necessarily be the teachers fault, there are plenty of other factors involved. Parents are becoming more and more involved in their child’s education which is great as teamwork is very important in a child’s development. However, parents can be quick to put the blame on the teacher which can cause problems, which is why constant communication between teachers and parents is essential.

Mrs Nursen Chemmi starts off by stating that professionalism can initially effect the children as they grow up to be adults. I agree with this, as the amount of dedication a teacher puts in as a professional impacts their learning. Additionally, the way they are brought up to see the teacher in terms of professionalism will impact their views as they develop into adults. ‘As teachers we are role models’ is a statement I would definitely agree with. Children spend the most part of their childhood in class, therefore, a lot of their time is spent with their teacher. It is essential that a teacher is a professional because as their role model children will effectively copy them and take on board the teachers actions and attitudes. Therefore, if the teacher represents good attitudes and behaviour, it  should reflect well in the child.

Mrs Colleen Welsh also describes professionalism as being a good role model. Colleen then goes on to say that it’s important not to judge a child by the way they are brought up which I do agree with as fairness is an essential quality for a teacher. I believe, it’s important to give every child a fair chance regardless of their background, therefore, being a professional does involve treating everyone the same.

Mrs Erin Smith states that professionalism is especially important in early childhood as they work with children, parents and families. I disagree with this as I think parents should be as involved in primary 7 as they were in nursery in order to benefit the child’s learning. Therefore, I would say that professionalism in that respect is equally important throughout all ages. However, I do agree with her comment about how professionalism enables you to be an effective communicator.

After watching this video and analysing what has been said, there appears to be a varied view on what professionalism is. Personally, I think that professionalism is individual and means something different to everyone. However, I think it’s important to stay open minded and be able to adapt in the teaching profession.

What makes a teacher who makes a difference?

One of the points made in ‘Being a Professional Teacher’ that really caught my attention was the ‘profession extending way beyond the walls of the classroom’. To me, a profession is the sort of job that you take home with you – it’s not one that stops as soon as you finish for the day. Therefore being a professional teacher and one who makes a difference involves teaching being a part of who you are and a big part of your life, not just a job. In my opinion ‘extending beyond…classroom’ is the perfect way to phrase this as it’s not just about what goes on in the classroom.

A ‘caring profession’ is also mentioned in relation to teaching. In order to make a difference, your heart must be in it and if you care about the pupils wellbeing and learning enough to go the extra mile, it’s bound to make an impact.

One of the doctors mentions that he gets a satisfaction out of treating patients which I think can relate to teaching. A teacher who makes a difference should get satisfaction from seeing their pupils succeed and do well. In the medical profession they need to give 100% all the time as lives are at risk. This can be relate to the teaching profession. Although they won’t physical die without a teacher who puts in 100%, it will effect their life, therefore, it makes a difference.

Teamwork is mentioned as making a difference which I think is very true as it’s important for the class as a whole to work as a team and also teachers to work as a team. Sacrifice was another word used which caught my attention as I think sacrifice is what makes a profession a profession, you’ve got to be willing to dedicate yourself.

One of the examples of someone who makes a difference was in South Africa where the teacher committed herself to the whole community not just her pupils. A teacher who makes a difference should be up-to-date with current education news as it is constantly changing. Additionally, they shouldn’t stop learning after they get their degree, there’s always workshops and education magazines to keep up with in order to update their skills.

The Construction of the Professional.

Firstly, I think fairness plays a very important role in the teaching profession. All children come from different backgrounds, upbringings, financial situations, etc. therefore it is crucial that every child is treated the same. Not necessarily taught the same as every individual learns different but treated with the same amount of respect and given equal attention. It’s important not to think that just because a pupil can produce great work without help that they don’t need attention as this could develop other issues. Similarly, it’s important not to spend all your time helping the one or two pupils who can’t work on there own as this way they’ll never learn how to write their name themselves, for example.

Patience is a quality I think every teacher needs. When doing my work experience with the primary ones, I learnt all about why patience was needed! Its extremely important to be able to keep calm even if they get the same question wrong ten times in a row or get green paint all over you when doing art! I think patience is an important quality for anyone to have but especially a teacher as a child shouldn’t feel like they can’t do something wrong just because it’ll make you angry. Learning is all about making mistakes because how else would you learn? That’s why I think its important to feel comfortable enough to have a go at everything even if you fail and that’s where patience in a teacher comes in.

Another quality which I find to be important is honesty. In order for a child to learn and develop as a person they need an honest teacher. It may build there confidence in that particular moment to say they’re doing great when in actual fact they’re not but it won’t help long-term. Therefore, in the future they may still not be able to do something right. I find it’s better to have a teacher who can be honest and upfront with you about strengths, weaknesses and ways to improve therefore you’re aware and can develop all aspects of your learning.

Additionally, I think integrity plays an important role in teaching and relates to honesty. It’s very important to have strong moral principles and therefore a teacher should be able to inspire the children to have their own beliefs. Part of growing up and finding who you are involves being an individual and having your own beliefs. I don’t think a teacher should teach what they believe in but rather to have our own beliefs, that’s where integrity comes in. No two people are the same, not even twins, therefore, I believe integrity to be a very important quality and one that should be imbedded from the start. To have strong moral principles also enables self-confidence.

Finally, I think respect is one of the most important qualities a teacher can have. Respecting your pupils as individuals is bond to have a huge effect on their learning and confidence growing up. A teacher should respect a child’s strengths, weaknesses, talents, personality, background, opinions, etc. It’s very important for anyone to be able to express their opinion with confidence and I think having a teacher who respects you for who you are is really beneficial for self-confidence. Not being able to be yourself or believe in the things you want can be damaging at a young age, therefore, it’s important that from the start they are respected and also learn to respect their peers. I believe that being respectful of other people is an important quality to have in life for anyone.