What is a professional teacher?

bennewmark

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I have been thinking about what it is that makes a teacher ‘professional’ in a meaningful sense. The answer isn’t anywhere near as clear as it should be. In most contexts in which I’ve worked discussion about professionalism has been almost exclusively limited to superficial, obvious visible behaviours like punctuality, meeting deadlines and wearing smart clothes to work. While stuff like this is, of course, important and necessary, I don’t think it is anywhere near sufficient for teaching to be regarded as profession in the way say medicine, dentistry or law are. After all, if we limit the criteria for professionalism to the sort of examples I’ve given, what separates us from our pupils who are also expected to turn up on time, hand in homework regularly and wear a uniform?

I think that limiting professionalism to compliant behaviour is dangerous. If we do this we inevitably create cultures obstructive…

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