Category Archives: Professional Studies

I’m a professional, and you’re under arrest!

The police force are in a career which would, I believe, undoubtedly be seen as a profession, and having watched “24 hours in Police Custody”, that has been proven to me even more.

These were the words that I have previously used to describe a professional. When looking back on these after observing the police unit, I believe that these are truly, but not exclusively, the qualities needed to be a professional. However, on reflection, there are a few more I would add. Linking to caring, I would add that professionals must be concerned about and considerate to the people they are working with. This was shown particularly by the police force in that they understood that they had a “duty of care” to the individuals they worked with. They were always asking if the suspects, and the families had any questions, and in one instance worried for the health of a suspect as he looked “pale”. This shows genuine care that I believe not everyone could show to these individuals. Another instance of this was where the officers did not want to go to the home “mob handed” as there was a child living there, and they did not want to frighten them. Again this shows a duty of care, not just for the suspect but for their families. For the second suspect, this was evident where the officer sat down with the wife, and explained what was happening. This would make her feel included and could lead to better cooperation with the police.

In terms of the video itself, I would reiterate my thoughts on having to be calm but confident. The first suspect shown in the video was not particularly helpful in the interview, however, the officers stayed calm, and treated the suspect with respect, even though he was under arrest. The officers in the same interview also showed confidence that must come with being a professional. The officer was determined that she was going to ask a certain question, and was confident, even though the solicitor was not happy.

An example of professionalism can be described in the scene where the viewers were informed that the suspect would work with social services whilst on bail. This inter-agency working takes the strain from the police as they can allow the suspect out on bail knowing that he will be looked after and can no longer pose any threat to his family.

In spite of the overwhelming professionalism of the police officers, there were some points which struck me as rather unprofessional. For example, the officers did not have a dress code as such, apart from the police body warmer that they wore while out visiting houses. While I understand that this may have been to make the suspects feel more at ease, I believe that dress code is important when considering professionalism as the way you look can often be the first impression people get. To establish a sense of professionalism, and the qualities that go with it as listed above, can form an early trust or bond between the “service user” and the professional. In positions such as police officer or teacher I believe that this relationship is extremely important. From a police point of view, without trust from suspects, there is less chance of cooperation. From a teacher’s point of view, this trust may not only come from the children, but also from the parents who will look at the teacher and instantly make assumptions about them and the school they work in, which I believe can all come from dress code.

The impact of the police officers’ professionalism was evident in how the suspects acted. They were not disrespectful towards the officers, as they themselves had been shown respect, and they were cooperative, especially in the case of the second suspect.

My university degree:

Attending Lectures – 20%

  • Lectures give basic knowledge about topics

Background Reading – 20%

  • Background reading emphasizes what students have learned in lectures and can spark new ideas and interests
  • Develops commitment and time management skills

Role Play etc – 20%

  • Allows students to use the theories that they have been taught and that they have read about to develop practical skills which are useful in their profession, without as much pressure

Work Based Learning – 40%

  • Gives students a feel for what it is actually like to be a police officer, and will draw in all of the other elements that they have learned at university

From watching this programme I have learned that the term “professional” is really an umbrella term which includes connotations of many other skills and qualities. While each profession will interpret these differently, they will all be used to some extent whether in the medical, police or teaching profession.The programme has reiterated to me that a “professional” is much more than someone who goes to work in a suit and tie and carries a briefcase. A professional is a well rounded person with genuine good intentions and a desire to succeed in what they do for themselves and the people they work with.

Professionalism as a Teacher

Clip 1 – I agree with the fact that teaching is a caring profession, and I certainly know that for me it was a calling, however, I know that this is not the case for everyone. I personally know people who have only recently decided that the teaching profession is for them, and I do not think it is fair that they be any less of a teacher because of this.

I also wholeheartedly agree with the idea that teachers are in some part similar to doctors, in that they are improving people’s lives – just as doctors can save lives, so too can teachers, albeit not medically. Teachers develop children, not just academically but socially and I believe complete the child, nourishing their talents and capabilities to a point where the child becomes a confident, independent adolescent.

When watching the interviews with the South African teachers, I found myself agreeing with everything that was said. A teacher, or indeed a professional one, must be dedicated, willing to cooperate with other staff and willing to go that extra mile in order to give these children the best education, and the best attitude towards school. The most important message from that clip in my opinion is the male teacher who simply said “Love your work.” For me, that is crucial in being a well-rounded, professional teacher. A teacher who does not enjoy going to work, and who is not totally committed to their class should not be a teacher. This affects the education of the pupils, and can lead them to see school negatively, potentially causing more serious problems later in time.

Clip 2 – The point to be stressed about this clip is that teachers are role models for the children in the school. They are someone to be admired, which refers back to my earlier point about how your motivation can affect the children. If they cannot idolize their teacher because they are negative in class, or do not appear to be fully engaged, they will seek other role models, potentially effecting their view of education totally.

Clip 3 – While I agree with both people in this clip, I think Chris is closer to my definition of professionalism. This clip raises the question to me about the difference between a worker and a professional. Can you be a professional without being a worker, just as you can be a worker without being a professional? Is a worker simply someone who arrives at work? I believe a successful professional to be someone who fully engages with their work, and has a passion for what they do, rather than someone who simply “clocks in and out” as there is no element of care for the job included in that statement.

The Construction of a Professional

In order to be a professional, I believe that you must be well rounded as an individual, which involves possessing all of the mentioned qualities. As well as a sense of motivation and determination, the idea of honesty to oneself is particularly important. Without being honest to yourself, you will not accept your flaws, and therefore cannot improve, meaning that you are not the best professional that you can be.

Patience – As a teacher, you must be patient with your class. If they are not physically or mentally coping with the lesson content, then there is no point in telling them off, the plan simply needs amended. A lack of patience makes a bad teacher in my opinion, as the work will consistently be at the wrong level or the pupils will not fully engage with the class because the teacher is always “grumpy” and shouting.

Fairness – A teacher must also be fair. There should be no favoritism within a class, although often there is. All pupils should be treated equally, and the work they are given should be fair in terms of the level they are able to work at.

Empathy – I believe the teacher should not be stranger, and times have changed from the days where the teacher was the person standing at the board with a ruler ready to smack anyone daring to go out of line. I believe a modern, professional teacher should empathize with their children and, while not getting too emotionally attached, should wholeheartedly care for the emotional well-being of the children, as well as their academic well-being.

Respect – “Respect is earned not given” is a statement I have been brought up to believe in, and still do to this day. If a teacher is actively respectful of those around them, be they staff, pupil or parent, I think children are more likely to be respectful themselves towards others (with an element of parental influence as well).

Self Control – How you present yourself as a professional is extremely important. For example, if a doctor speaking to you before an operation walked in wearing jeans and a T shirt, confidence levels of their capability will drop, regardless of what they say to you. This is also true for a teacher. If a teacher has no self control in their presentation or performance, parents and other staff will make assumptions about that teacher. That is why professional appearance is so important in my opinion.