Category Archives: Professional Studies

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.

Professionalism and the Online World.

Personally, I think it’s very hard to maintain one account on social media for both personal and professional use. It is possible but it’s only going to make things more difficult! Therefore I think it’s best to keep them separate to avoid more challenges than is already being faced. For example, celebrities tend to have one account for family and friends where they can share personal and private things, plus another account for fans to follow where they share upcoming events and can be professional. This is something teachers and other professionals can relate to as its an easy way to keep your personal and professional life separate. However, pupils or parents may still be able to find your personal account, that’s why its crucial to think before you post and make sure you use strict privacy settings.

Having a professional account is a great way of sharing class related topics with parents and a very easy way to keep them informed. For example, when I went to Berlin with the school, my teacher had a blog where she wrote about what we did that day and added pictures. This meant that family back home could see what was going on and were kept well informed. On the other hand, a pupil should only be able to contact you during class time and if they were to try over social media, the situation would need to be addressed.

These days, I think social media gets quite a negative viewpoint when it comes to the professional world as it’s easy for the line of professionalism to be blurred, therefore, people have this stereotypical view that it’ll only end bad. Having grown up with social media, I can tell you, it’s not all bad and there are many benefits to using it professionally. Therefore, I will frame things in a positive viewpoint as I think many opportunities can arise through the use of social media. As a teacher, I will keep my personal account separate from my professional one which could be used as a learning environment as well as a source of information and quick communication. I’m aware challenges may arise through doing this but I’d rather not pretend it doesn’t exist when it’s such a big part of the modern life today.


Gender – My Experience

Upon first read of the question ‘how did your gender affect you as a child?’, I had no idea what to write because I didn’t think it had any affect on me at primary school. However, after reflecting on my experience, I’ve come to the realisation that actually it did, I’d just never noticed.

At my primary school, the girls played in the netball team and the boys played in the football team, it was just the way it was. I never once questioned it till now as I would never have chosen to play football in the first place but had I wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to and vice versa for the boys. Furthermore, if a teacher ever needed help with moving a table for example, they would ask for “two strong boys” as if a girl wouldn’t be able to do it and it’s assumed the boy is stronger or more able.

Additionally, I’ve now realised that all the sport teachers were male and all the art teachers were female. For all 7 years I attended primary school, there was never a male teacher, they were all female. For a while there was a male janitor and at one point a male head teacher but that was it. I can’t say whether this had an affect on me or not but for all I know it could have.

When discussing this question with peers, many said that the boys in their class got in trouble more often than the girls even for the same behaviour. Personally, I can’t remember if this was the case in my school. I do know, however, that it’s a common assumption that boys are better behaved than girls. In my opinion, this stereotype could affect their behaviour and subsequently have an impact on their learning, in a good or a bad way. Some teachers may not even realise that they’re treating the girls differently from the boys as it’s an automatic behaviour but in doing so could affect many children’s behaviour as it is presumed from the first day.