Using some of my previous reflections and came up with the following words which I feel pertain to what it means to be a professional teacher:
In order to further develop my understanding, I then watched a program about another type of professional, to see if the qualities that I associate with being a teacher also apply. I chose to watch ‘One born every minute’, focusing on the work of the midwives and health professionals.
Throughout this show, the level of professionalism from all staff involved was highly noticeable. I could see how all of the words from my word cloud also applied to the professionals on the show. The program gave some wonderful examples of the health professionals giving informed advice for example regarding epidurals and natural/ pool births. They were also calm and confident despite working in stressful situations, as well as being kind and caring while giving reassurance to the woman and her family.
Professionalism in this situation is absolutely vital, as the clients (the mother and the baby) are extremely vulnerable. They are relying completely on the knowledge and expertise of the health professionals around them to bring the baby into the world safely. This is a very stressful and frightening time where issues and complications can arise, and it is essential that staff are able to make decisions quickly.
A recognisable dress code is in place for health professionals. This is partly for the sake of health and safety, but it also helps the clients to quickly identify the individuals who are helping them (particularly as the mother is unlikely to be spending time reading name badges while she is in the grips of labour!)
Part of the show that struck a chord with me was when one of the midwives mentioned the importance of being able to ‘have a laugh’. There was a lovely moment where we saw the midwives having fun with each other in the staff room; dancing and laughing together. This reminded me that despite our responsibilities, it is impossible to be serious 100% of the time. More importantly; we SHOULDN’T try to be serious 100% of the time! We all have personalities and lives outside of our jobs that are just as valid as our work is. Personally, I would rather have a midwife who has a bit individuality than a perfect ‘robot’, despite the fact that a robot may have all of the information and can do the same job. This is a message that I will take with me while training to be a teacher; allowing myself to have a few quirks as long as they do not impact on my ability to be a professional.
If I were to develop a degree which would train health professionals, I would place high importance on practical learning while observing experienced and highly qualified staff at work. I would also involve a large portion of reading and research, as it is important to understand the theory behind the practice. I think that a large amount of real-life experience adds depth and reality to the situations that the students read about, and means that students are also able to see the personal qualities that are vital to succeeding within this role.
For me, this is also the case for students who are training to become teachers. Reading, research and lectures provide key information, however it is the classroom experience which solidifies the understanding and moulds us into future educators.