Skip to main content

Are teachers perceived as professionals?



Are teachers perceived as professionals?
noun
  1. 1.
    a person engaged or qualified in a profession.
    "professionals such as lawyers and surveyors"
    synonyms:white-collar worker, office worker
    "affluent young professionals."
  2.      Are teachers perceived as professionals?    When you Google the definition and images of professional, images of professionally dressed individuals appear. Teachers are professional but are often not perceived as such. SO, how do we change this ingrained, often negative perception?
  3.      Changing perceptions takes time. I write for myself only, not my school or any organizations of which I am a member.  I will readily admit that I was born at the end of the Baby Boomer generation. I was raised with the idea that I should dress for success. Lately, teachers come to school dressed as if they are ready for yoga. Stretchy pants and t-shirts have replaced cute skirts, slacks, and blouses for women. It is rare to see a man wearing a tie or even a collared shirt.  My son, completing his final student teaching internship this fall, told me that all the teachers at his school dress down, including the principal. Does it matter? Yes!
  4.      If teachers want to be perceived as professionals, we simply must dress the part. It is not unusual for administrators to wear a blazer or suit. Many districts have upgraded their faculty dress code with the preference for no athletic wear or jeans for teachers. There has been quite a bit of pushback from teachers. They want to wear clothing that allows them to move and meet the needs of their students. I would agree that Elementary teachers have different needs than secondary teachers. Having been both an elementary teacher and a secondary teacher, I did dress up when I was an elementary teacher.  Many of my dresses required dry cleaning. I wanted my parents and my students to view me as a professional.  As a secondary teacher, I view my attire as an important part of modeling adulthood to my students. 
  5.      Modeling for our students is important. If you are interested in the current statistics for who is attending public schools in the US, here are some fast facts from the National Center for Education Statistics. Our largely white faculties are teaching an increasing number of non-white students with higher rates of poverty. When I consider what to wear each morning, I must consider that I am modeling for my students the image of mature adulthood.
  6.      Teacher salary is often ballyhooed as an issue.  Teachers say that they want to be perceived and paid as professionals. Considering that beginning lawyers make $46,000 with one week of vacation. I have a minimum of 5 weeks in the summer, Thanksgiving, two weeks for winter break, and one week for spring break. The average starting salary for University of Arkansas graduates is $33,000. So, the starting salary for teachers of roughly $34,000 in our state is quite reasonable. It would be nice if teachers earned overtime pay for hours worked in the school building. I am contractually obligated to work 45 hours a week as a minimum. My contract stipulates that I will not receive overtime pay.
  7.      It is true that a teacher's day does not end with the bell. That is often the time when planning, grading, and phone calls get made. Also, we often have weekend school activities. I have begun to notice the number of times a doctor or dentist will call to check up on a patient after a procedure. Each time someone in my family had a procedure and was sent home the same day, the doctor himself called us in the evening to check on the progress. Our vet does the same thing to check on our the progress of our pet.
  8.      All of this is to say that teachers do work hard, and do earn a good living with benefits. If teachers want to be perceived as professionals, we need to dress and perform as professionals. View these photos of Teacher of the Year in Arkansas.  All three women in the center are past or present teachers of the year in Arkansas. They are dressed professionally and received the resulting respect from their profession.
  9. So, look to the teacher leaders in your school. Determine the appropriate dress for your location and know that you stand shoulder to shoulder with other professionals working hard for their achievements. Know that you have made a wise choice to be an educator.


Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed.

@Rogers_Suzanne

District Director of Professional development, AP English teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist. 



  1.      


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#Edtech tools of summer

Summer is a great time for teachers to work with #edtech tools. Two free Edtech tools that I'm working with this summer include TED-Ed and RECAP. Both of these tools can help a teacher flip his or her classroom. I've found that videos and screencasts are helpful to my students. Why?

1. Visual learners benefit from a visual explanation in addition to a handout

2. Students who have been absent can more easily regain what they missed

3. Students can replay the video and not be embarrassed

So, what is TED-Ed?
"TED-Ed is also a platform for teachers. They can adapt TED-Ed Original Lesson content to create customized lessons to use in their classrooms or use our Create a Lesson tool to build their own new lessons with any YouTube video."

Examples http://ed.ted.com/on/fRUTqFyo

My students have also used TED-Ed to create memorable lessons. I'm using it this summer to quickly create video lessons from videos that I have used in the classroom previously. I will be able to…

The Struggle is Real- threefold statement on leadership

December 31, 2016

As an instructional leader, I am perpetually looking for knowledge to inspire, to teach, and to broaden my current perspective. I am also personally interested in the quiet work of The Elders.  Many teachers are interested in social justice.  As our public school populations continue to shift, it is imperative that we understand our students' backgrounds and the walls of prejudice they face daily.  Chair of the Elders, Kofi Annan's statement on leadership is fourfold. These three points can guide current and future #teacherleaders

1.  Be open and willing to listen
2.  Need not always be right
3.  A good follower

BE OPEN. To be open is to understand that all of our teachers have brilliant ideas. We must be willing to listen to these ideas. Teacher leaders must also be open to the restrictive policies of our schools. Teacher leaders must guide teachers and administrators. Often, administrators see the bigger picture. For example, charter schools in our state c…

Inaugural Poetry Night

Inaugural Poetry Night at LISA North
April 5, 2016

As we approach our first Poetry Night, hearts are fluttering.   Our students are nervous to present their poetry, and out teachers are nervous about attendance. Since it is our first attempt to showcase our student's work, we  have also set up a LISA North Poetry Channel on Youtube so that the students and parents and view our students' efforts.

We will continue to add to our poetry channel each year.
LISA North Poetry Channel