Unprofessional Professionals

Professionalism is an important issue in many fields.  Every profession seems to have a different definition of what professionalism means to their particular job.  Generally, people expect a certain dress, language, and work ethic.  However, I think the most important aspect of professionalism is often overlooked.  Professionals should embody the core of their profession.  For a true professional, the line between personal and professional life should be completely blurred, meaning their profession should soak into their personal lives, like an estuary of fresh river water and salty sea water.

Police officers should abide the law and serve and protect even when not on duty.  Nurses should care for the health of people and themselves on and off the clock.  Teachers should be learning and instructing outside the classroom.  Professionals living their profession--this is the most important measure of professionalism.  Unfortunately, unprofessional professionals are pervasive in so many parts of our economy, from crooked cops and nurses that smoke cigarettes to undemocratic politicians.  The one that really bothers me, the one I could rant about for pages and pages are unprofessional teachers.

Anyone who works with me will tell you I don't tuck in my shirt, I'm a little loose with my language at times, and I stray from other minor facets of "professionalism".  However, I learn at an exponential pace and I share my learning with my colleagues, students, and community members.  I pains me to sit and listen to teachers complain about having to learn something new.  how antithetical can a person be!

We have all experienced it.  Teachers can be worse than students.  I remember being addressed by our superintendent and awkwardly watching him having to wait on teachers to stop talking while he was talking.  Its hard to count on my fingers all the times I have been in professional development sessions where teachers are not paying attention, playing on their phone, or not participating at all.  How about all the negative comments about school in general?  We all need a break and comic relief is necessary in  a stressful job, but teachers complaining about school and learning new things does irreparable damage to a school's culture. This is a fundamental part of professionalism that needs a shift.  We need to live our profession and expect from our teachers at least what we expect from our students.

1 comment:

  1. As a senior citizen I see the lack of professionalism more widespread than in the past. It makes me wonder why...
    To the point that when one does committ fully to the ideals of professionalism...he stands out, aka Justin Vail, future Mr. President


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