Our director of education has made the statement that "teachers" are not professionals because they do not have an oath to which they swear by, nor do they have a "patron philosopher" to adulate , nor some cool slogan in Latin that explains who are what we do. Teachers are unlike doctors who have taken an oath to "do no harm". Or lawyers who have take an oath "to uphold the law". (Yeah, like that happens on a regular basis!) But the conflict here is that teachers do not have an oath connecting their profession to some obscure presence of mythology. (Of course when pressed I explained that "Nurse" take an "oath" and therefore must be "professionals" but somehow they do not fit into the professional schema of my director's dissertation.)
Needless to say, teachers are hard spent to prove that they are worthy professionals. But then let us look upon their manner: most teachers I know do not dress professionally, no as a matter of fact since the "freedom" wrought on us by the Boomer generation the desire for professionalism is almost looked upon as a "disease" a sickness of the corporate hierarchy. It has become standard dress to wear jeans and slacks and sports shirts to work. Now I enjoy a good "sports" shirt or "camp" shirt and wear them often, ok, all the time when I am not working. But with my students I want to give them a sense of direction a sense of self-esteem by modeling that "Yes Billy, anybody can grow up to be successful" because that IS the American Dream after all: success.
How we define that success is a whole different can of worms. By dressing down so that we may look more "casual" comfortable "hip" or "in" (read: younger ) we have also brought down the respect of a world who no longer looks upon us as "authorities in our fields". Ah yes the a-word. But why is "authority" when used in this context wrong? Authority does not mean I get to push you around. That is what "respect" now means. Authority simply states that one is knowledgeable on a subject, enough so that others may come to them for instruction, guidance, or acceptance.
And is that not the role of teachers? We are the guiding force, the instructors, the people who accept you without judgement
I believe that anyone can become a teacher but not everyone can teach. And when I hear statements like: 'the best teachers aren't teachers', 'teachers are over-educated and over-rated' it gets my whirly gig spinning. Because on many levels I agree with these statements and I state that not all teachers are good teachers, hell half the teachers aren't even teachers. But we did this to ourselves and now that we are in the camp and lumped together with the pities and the fighters a change has to take place. Not everyone can teach but not all good teachers need be teachers - it would be nice however if we could get the two together.
The teacher profession has fallen to laziness, sloth, greed, and shoddiness. We walk about wondering why we aren't respected nor treated well like other "professions" and then there are some that would say that we are not even a profession!
But we do have a "patron philosopher of mythical proportions" (he's Greek too!) that exemplifies all that is great and decent about our profession and that is Aristotle: the greatest teacher of them all. (I know some would say it was Jesus but Jesus had simple lessons like: 'love one another' and we his students have been failing that test miserably for thousands of years). Aristotle in simple words: "teaching is the highest form of understanding."
And there we have it: a Greek philosopher, an "oath" and as for those cool
words to live by?
I propose these: For Unifying Conceit in Knowledge: Obvious and Formative Fundamentals