Teaching professionalization has always been a long standing goal in any countries. They continue to work to advance teaching as a profession. Professionalism is a complex and dynamic concept. Six generally accepted criteria are used to define a profession and I believe that nowadays, teaching continuously achieves and fulfills the following criteria:
1) Teachers are equipped with knowledge having an extensive background and a set of teaching methods derived through continuous research. Anywhere in the world I believe that before you can be called a teacher you should have a qualification, at least a degree or masteral in the continuous setting of educational standards.
2) There is cooperation achieved through a professional organization; Cooperation plays an important role in the development of the teaching profession because it represents a banding together to achieve commonly desired purposes. In Philippines or any other countries, teachers have their own organization, which adheres to the needs or current issues in teaching or to socially expose the profession and bring together those who sincerely pursue and promote high quality education.
3) The teaching profession has won its well-deserved place in the social order through continuous cooperation in research, professional preparation and strict adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct, which obligates every teacher to treat each student within a sacred trust. Teachers have control or influence over their own governance, socialization into teaching and research connected with their profession. Teachers carry responsibilities weighted with social purpose. Through a rigid and self-imposed adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct, which sets out their duties and responsibilities, teachers pass on their accumulated culture and assist each student under their care in achieving self-realization.
4) There is a formal period of preparation and a requirement for continuous growth and development. Teachers are required to complete a defined teacher preparation program followed by a period of induction or internship prior to being granted permanent certification. This period includes support for the formative growth of teachers and judgments about their competence. Teachers are devoted to continuous development of their ability to deliver their service.
5) The profession has control or influence over education standards, admissions, licensing, professional development, ethical and performance standards, and professional discipline. As professionals, teachers are governed in their professional relationships with other members, school boards, students and the general public by rules of conduct set out in the Association’s Code of Professional Conduct. The code stipulates minimum standards of professional conduct for teachers, but it is not an exhaustive list of such standards. Unless exempted by legislation, any member of the Association who is alleged to have violated the standards of the profession, including the provisions of the code, may be subject to a charge of unprofessional conduct under the Discipline Bylaws of the Association.
6) There is a degree of autonomy accorded the professional. Teachers have opportunities to make decisions about important aspects of their work. Teachers apply reasoned judgment and professional decision making daily in diagnosing educational needs, prescribing and implementing instructional programs, and evaluating the progress of students. Teacher judgment unleashes learning and creates the basis for experience.
I grew up having a family of educators and teachers. My mother was a teacher back then (she died in 2005), my 2 sisters, and my brother, together with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are teachers, plus extended family such as my aunts being teachers and principal in a school too. I remember when my mom would usually tell me that teaching is a noble profession and without teachers there would be no doctors, lawyers or engineers and other professions. I will just listen to her whenever she says that, but then never cared at all since i didn’t want to become like them. I had other plans for myself. I wanted to be a lawyer, but here I am ending up as a teacher….and I realize that mom was right…Teaching is a noble…not just a noble but a very noble profession. It is not just a profession but it is a way to touch the lives of those who are setting up their future and dreams. A teacher can build or break a student, inspire them and mold them, guide them and nurture them, lead them and direct them…In my mind, a teacher should always be professional serving as good role model not just to students but to the society. Teachers need to have moral standards and social obligations as well.
This module about teacher professionalism has truly enlightened me about a lot of things that I didn’t know before. Reflective practice, collective autonomy, theorizing practices, quality and performance..what are those? Until I read the resources which has opened up my mind and deep understanding of what is really meant being called a professional teacher. I am teaching now when I do not actually have a degree in education or a license to teach, other than my degree in Psychology and my masters in Clinical Psychology…I am teaching special kids now, though its related to psychology, I still feel the need for additional knowledge and qualification because even though I hold those qualifications, I still sometimes feel that I am not as in qualified to teach because in my belief being a professional teacher is having a license to teach. This is also the very reason why I decided to enroll in UPOU Program in Teaching. This would really mean so much to me and add up to my confidence in teaching. For the past three weeks I have been learning so much and I intend to really apply everything to my actual career as I rethink and evaluate my teaching strategies and methods, and quality of my performance…Someday mom would be happy to know that her daughter who used to say before “that she doesn’t want to be a teacher like her” actually ended up being a “professional teacher.” 🙂