Professionalism in Education

This is the time of the year… the time of the year for change.

In my district, it has been especially difficult as several hundred teachers lost their jobs as the budget crisis continues.
Administrators are having to allocate the staff within the building in preparation for next year. People are receiving notice that their position will change for next year.
Students are starting to get a little “riled up” and teachers are searching for ways to keep them motivated and focused.

And as I look around, I see some teachers slipping down the same path. It is easy to fall into the trap of “everyone is cranky so I will be too!”
Change is hard for many people and the undercurrents of discontent spread quickly. Surprisingly, it is teachers who are sometimes harder to deal with than students.

I have a few thoughts on ways to keep yourself and those around you from falling into some potentially unprofessional situations:

  • Identify your role in any conversation.
    When you are speaking to someone, especially on a sensitive topic, decide if you are speaking to them as a friend or as a professional colleague. If you are like me, you have been on your campus for several years and have developed some close friendships with other staff members. It is with these people that it is easiest to fall into the trap. If you realize that your topic of conversation is not something you would say as a teacher, be careful. Maybe you and your friend should at least have the conversation off campus after school. I often find myself verbalizing the phrase “I am talking now as a friend” just so the other person understands my perspective. Also, be aware when you are in a group. Not everyone in your group may have a close personal relationship with you and your comments may be perceived as very unprofessional.
  • Find one trusted confidant
    This may take time and not something to go “searching for”. In fact, the “searching” could get you in a whole heap of trouble. And honestly, the best person to complain to is someone who has no connection to your campus. My poor husband has heard more than his share of rants, but it gets it out of my system and he’s not in the teachers’ lounge the next day, relaying our entire conversation.
  • Be the Buck
    Hey, did you hear? Did you hear that you don’t have to pass on information that someone tells you. Seriously, all of us have filters and we know what should and should not be passed on. My litmus test? Would I tell the information to anyone on my campus? If it is not something I don’t want everyone to know, I don’t share with anyone. And if it is personal, the person the information is about should give permission for it to be shared.

While these are great tips, we are all human and the tendencies are always there. Just remember all the things we teach our students about respect and honesty. We are always role models… for our students and for our colleagues.

Leave a comment. What do you do to keep yourself from falling into the trap?

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One response to “Professionalism in Education

  1. Thank You for always being such a strong leader. You have no idea the influence you have on new educators, like myself! 🙂

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