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.