Teachers on professionalism

What makes a teacher who makes a difference?

The following values are taken from the GTCS Standards;

Professional Commitment

  • Engaging with all aspects of professional practice and working collegiately with all members of our educational communities with enthusiasm, adaptability and constructive criticality.
  • Committing to lifelong enquiry, learning, professional development and leadership as core aspects of professionalism and collaborative practice

It is stated how important commitment is to being a teacher, in Video 1 the similarities between doctors and teachers are highlighted. I understand the viewpoint but must disagree on the severity of life and death used. There are many successful, functioning human beings who lacked a professional teacher in their lives. There are not as many individuals alive and well after being at the hands of an unprofessional doctor. The teacher makes a difference when their is accountability and commitment but more so if the child, family and community are behind the teacher. The teacher must adapt to her surroundings and meet the needs of her students and their families. It is this hark back to the respected teacher that is highlighted in the video.  These teachers only know they are making a difference because the feedback from communities and the impact they have on the entire education system. Going above and beyond is an understatement, the willingness to actively engage, challenge and develop the system as well as themselves. This commitment to the profession is about knowing your place within it is subject to change. You are responsible and accountable for the education you provide. So to be a teacher who makes a difference you must want to first BE that difference.

Teachers on professionalism

In the second video Miss Long highlighted the introduction of benchmarking, the across board way to see if a teacher is succeeding. I can see the stress this may cause but it is mainly a benefit. Children deserve equal opportunities and the access to efficient teachers. Mrs Chemmi discussed the importance of a professional personality. Children imitating the actions and words of the teacher. This made perfect sense but local dialogue or a relatable accent can be of benefit when talking with parents. Adaptability is key, children should have a positive, polite and professional constant with their teachers and the teacher herself should be professional enough to adapt to that. It was Mrs Walsh and Mrs Smith I related most too. Speaking to children in a manner that won’t offend their home life is something I have first hand experience with. It takes a great level of professional conduct to approach an incident of profanity in a nursery setting! The child should never feel ashamed of their background, if it is difficult it is to build upon, if it is entitled there is scope for diversifying. I have always been intrigued with early years language acquisition and the little importance based on professional manner in private nurseries. It is a pot luck. Professionalism is about the teacher embracing the profound influence they have on the children they teach and also encompass the impact the have in the child’s wider world. With teachers now being a child’s likely Named Person, as part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the teacher’s influence is solidified both inside and out-with the classroom.

Worker or Professional?

As this a purely personal reflection on the message this video sent to me I feel I can be honest. From Mr. Christie I saw an idealised view of a teacher, the message that teachers should be appreciated and should be carried on our shoulders. They were all wishes, not reality. This mollycoddling perception, publicly voiced to reiterate the notion of the teacher as a valued member of society: but only when they do a “great job”. It is unjust to assume all teachers do a great job, as in all professions it is hard to equate. It is then easy to brand them all the same and in knowing not all are great, the pay can stay the same. Why pay more when not all teachers deserve to be carried on shoulders.

Karen Lewis saying she was an “educational worker” upset me. I am aware that too many teachers don’t just punch a clock and do a job. They have passion and commitment to their profession. The career itself demands extra hours, further study, planning and continuous development. A union is important and I am unsure as to whether Karen was pretending to be obtuse, as that is how she feels she is treated; or whether she genuinely thinks teaching isn’t a profession. No matter how she felt she is clearly a teacher currently within the system and if her morale regarding her chosen “profession” is so low it leads to many questions. This quote resonated with me and relates well to Karen and the message I took from her speech.

“The system which makes no great demands upon originality, upon invention… works automatically to put and to keep the more incompetent teachers in the school. Where their time and energy are likely to be..occupied with details of external conformity”

J.Dewey 1941

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