ejournal 3 / module 2
I think this week’s topic, what does it mean to be a professional teacher? is difficult to answer. My original definition related mostly to what an individual teacher had to do to be a genuine educator, such as knowledge of teaching methods and principles, understanding of cognitive development, and classroom management and assessment skills. I now realize that so many more factors that play into an evolving definition of professionalism. Some of the points I had not previously considered but now think are very important to connect to teacher professionalism are:
- Collaboration, collective autonomy, social capital
A professional teacher must be able to work with students, parents, other teachers, community members, and stakeholders for a common goal that transcends classroom education. A professional teacher recognizes that her work impacts each student’s future opportunities, motivations, and expectations.
- State Interference
Schools across the world are regulated by state mandated national curriculum, assessment measures, and achievement goals. Public education relies on state funding and so must comply with the state’s standards and definitions of professionalism. I am working in Thailand and have had to jump through several hoops to meet professional teaching standards. That’s my understanding of professional mandate.
- Ongoing professional development, improving one’s craft
As the definition of teacher professionalism is varied and continues to evolve, teachers must keep current on the latest trends, debates, and research in education. A teacher should assess her own strengths and weaknesses and seek ways to streamline her skills. This reflection will help a teacher improve her craft year upon year.