Professional Expectations

The importance of professionalism in education

What is professionalism?

Professionalism is adhering to the social codes as well as the ethical standards of your field, and treating those around you in a courteous and respectful manner. For teachers, this means that you need to dress in a way that matches the school definition of professional dress. It also includes maintaining a respectful emotional (and physical) distance from students, and treating each student with respect. You must give each student a chance to succeed and maintain appropriate behavior with each student. It also means accepting critiques and suggestions from co-workers, parents, and superiors.

Why are professional expectations so important for educators?

Professionalism stops most problems and dilemmas from occurring in the first place. Teachers are around minors most of the year; it is essential that nothing suspicious takes place. Maintaining a professional demeanor and an appropriate distance will assure that students do not feel that you as a teacher are crossing any lines. It will also assuage parents’ concerns that you might be using your power as the adult to mistreat their children or single them out for personal reasons.

What are some specific expectations?

You are expected to represent your school (or institution) as a professional. You are expected to value each of your students as individuals, as well as their performance capabilities, problem-solving techniques, and their critical thinking. You are expected to contribute to a positive climate at your institution for your students as well as co-workers and superiors. You are also expected to act professionally by active listening and well thought out responses to questions that you might be asked.

In Conclusion

Being professional does not mean that you cannot have fun with your students, laugh with your co-workers, and make suggestion to your employer. It means that all of these things must be done in a way that nurtures an environment for learning, and that everyone feels respected, and that their ideas are being listened to.