I am a practicing educator but on a more specific audience, so to speak. I teach religion and theology and, yes, I am a volunteer teacher. So, when we were asked if teachers were even treated as professionals in our country, my initial reaction was – ouch.
Sure, just like the doctor or the lawyer, teachers also need a license in order to teach. But do they get remuneration that is as sky-high as doctors or lawyers?
Well, you know the answer.
Sure, teaching is not solely monetary. It is not something that we do just so we can put food on the table. I mean, just look at the featured image on this blog, it says – Teaching is a work of HEART. Yet even with wholehearted devotion to teaching, we’re still not viewed as professionals on so many levels.
There is an ongoing debate among those who would want to elevate the teaching profession. What would it take for us to consider the teaching force as fully professional?
Keywords start to appear – autonomy, pay commensurate to performance, career ladder, etc. Stumbling blocks are also recognized – ever-changing demands, negative perception of teachers in societies, outdated teaching models, non-flexibility of teacher contracts, and the list could go on and on.
What do I think could help elevate teachers as full professionals in everyone’s sight? Here are some of my ideas (indulge me) –
- Higher quality on training programs for teachers
- Higher criteria for teacher selection
- Raising teacher wages especially when specialization is already required (e.g. special education, etc.)
- Upping the quality of licensure examinations
- Flexibility in teaching schedules
- Teacher leadership opportunities
- Higher criteria – yet again – for teacher tenure as well as retention
- Training teacher leaders that will support other teachers
You might say that these ideas are not revolutionary, well that’s because they are not. These have been suggested by many others but the good news is that they are now achievable thanks to pedagogical researches and reforms.
For now I’ll just learn all the needful principles in order to help make a difference someday.