Have you ever wondered what the qualities of a really professional teacher are? I know that all teachers want their students to like them, but being liked isn’t the be-all and end-all really, is it? I mean teachers have to make some unpopular decisions sometimes.
Teachers can be favored just because they are friendly and helpful, but to be effective and truly professional they need other qualities. Students may not be able to put their finger on just why one teacher is more effective than another but we need to be able to identify the skills and behavior we require in a true professional.
A professional teacher needs to be confident without being arrogant. Nobody can expect to have all the answers, so if a student poses a legitimate challenge, the professional teacher should be able to admit defeat but offer to find out more for the student. And they must carry out that promise.
Proper preparation is another crucial requirement of professionalism. When the teacher enters the classroom s/he should have all the required materials and the lesson plan ready. Nothing is more mediocre than poor preparation.
Interaction with the group needs professional standards of behavior: polite, firm and fair. If things are obviously not going according to plan, flexibility is golden! In orchestrating the class, the teacher must give everyone a chance to contribute and should be flexible enough to modify lessons. Indeed, a fall-back position is a critical part of good planning.
It stands to reason, also, that the teacher must observe punctuality and appropriate tidiness and dress code. It is inconsistent to demand such behavior from students if the teacher doesn’t set the standards. Indeed, I can remember occasions on which students have complained to me about the uninspiring presence of some of their teachers.
The last thing I would mention is that teachers should be able to feel that their professionalism entitles them to back-up from the school directors. If a teacher has a problem class or student then the school should have procedures for handling the more serious difficulties that stand in the way of student learning.
Have you ever wondered what the qualities of a really professional teacher are? A professional teacher needs to be confident without being arrogant. The primary role of an educator is to lead the student to become the best s/he could possibly be. Lead by leaving the silent message of your professional presence reflecting their personal worth!