I cannot begin to think how professionalism can be a living expression of your profession. How do I put these into words? Is it a result of completing the teacher education program or having the dispositions (i.e. content knowledge, skills, methods of instruction) acquired through field experiences, as stated by Creasy (2015)? My take is both.
Professionalism in a teacher is learned as a process in teachers’ education program in the university. Especially when one is taught in a problem-based approach such in the field of medicine. Here, teachers in training can be immersed in the real-life situations into which they can apply the theories they are learning into practical ways. From there, a continuing education program will keep them above their levels, when they are given in-service trainings that are doable in the real-life settings they are in. Professionalism is an integration of all three dispositions that does not end, rather improves over time.
I am not an education graduate. But life situations brought me to where I am. I am a mom. I am a teacher. I am a homeschooler. Back in college, I was mostly assigned to kids with special needs in our rehabilitation centers. Creating activities for them and seeing them react and interact, improve even to the slightest way is a big accomplishment for me. When I see them progress, it assures me that what I am doing is right. Straight out of college and after passing the boards, I became a SPED teacher in a conventional private school. I learned to construct IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) for my students of grades 2 and 5. When I went back to clinical practice, it was still kids who I mostly treated. Fast forward to present day, I have two wonderful sons ages 10 and 5. Never did I thought that I would literally be a teacher-mom, until we tried to homeschool due to my husband’s work that require travelling. To keep our family close, we ventured into this journey. As I have said in my previous reflections, I want to give the best of me to my kids, that is why I enrolled in UPOU’s PTC (Professional Teaching Course) program. Here I know that I will be able to get the necessary content knowledge to support the skills and instructional strategies I am already doing. To correct what I am doing wrong and to enhance what I believe is effective. This is my equipping of self in a professional way. Aside from the specially-designed trainings for parents like me from my homeschool provider (Homeschool Global), I believe it is but right to do this, in this season of my life. While we are still nurturing our growing children.
I don’t say that I am always right. But that I am willing to learn. Take for example transferring of knowledge by way of theories. I have learned the different ways teaching strategies can be modified in order to accommodate my learners’ learning style. And that there is no single theory that can exist apart from others. There is no stand-alone theory. As there is no one and absolute classroom instruction or strategy. I have learned to be flexible and not stagnate. I have learned to listen more rather than talk fast. I learned to modify and adapt rather than be bossy and strict. Because all these equate to the learning experience of my kids. My sons. I have asked them so many times if they want to go back to conventional school. They would always choose to do homeschool. I guess what I am doing what is right because they like it. For now I will take advantage of that likeness to learn through me, and the big learning community we have in our Learning Group.
Professionalism as taught in this course is a principle however misunderstood or undefined by many, is a must for a teacher like me. And that I should aim to be a learner so that I don’t stop growing and improving for the benefit of my students. My sons.
Now that I have defined professionalism in a very personal way, I intend to keep learning. Keep equipping so I can acquire what is best and transfer that creatively and effectively to my learners. My sons.
Creasy, K., 2015 June., Defining Professionalism in Teacher Education Programs. Journal of Education and Social Policy. Vol2 No2 pp23-25. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED563997.pdf