{December 10, 2008}   Professionalism

After reading the article by Ms María Lidia Camporro, “A Toast on Professionalism” in The Teacher’s Magazine #109, many questions came to my mind.

Why do 18 year olds choose the teaching profession? Is it because it’s the easiest choice or is it because they really want to make a change in the lives of younger generations to come?

Why is it that in such courses of studies as English Teaching there are so many registered students and so many drop outs?

As it was said in the previously mentioned article, this last years were witnesses of a draw back in registration for the teaching courses everywhere.

In my opinion, and due to certain recent events I’ll mention later here, I think that perhaps this draw back in registration may lead to best quality teaching.  Those who are working as teachers nowadays know what I’m talking about: extra time for PTA meetings, extra work for holidays and national days, presents for child’s day, quality activities, and the most important of all: commitment to your work. Quoting Ms Camporro, “it is always easier to see, analyse and judge others than to actually go over one’s own decisions, revise them and spot where they went wrong.” The problem appears when teachers are fulfilling roles they are not expected to, and when those who are in the teaching profession are not professional enough.

Why am I talking about this?

Some months ago, I was assigned some extra work for the end of year party at school. Three teachers, including me, were supposed to prepare a video with pictures of those students who were graduating from 9th grade. (Here in Argentina 9th grade signals the end of the primary level of education)

As I knew from the very beginning of the year I’d had to prepare this video, I started collecting and scanning pictures from this students…

Teacher number two told me he was preparing a video as a gift FROM HIM for this students…

And teacher number three never got to know he had to work with us… (or did he?)

The problem started in June, when the former head master told teacher number two he would like HIM to make the video for the prom, and not me… so I told him “Ok, I’ll give him the pictures for the prom’s video”

This extra work was due last Friday.

I came to school earlier and one of the secretaries told me “what happened with the video? I heard somewhere teacher number two didn’t make it” (or something like that, I was so mad I can’t remember the exact words). And here comes the most important detail: I’m an obsessively responsible teacher. If you ask me on Monday to do something for Friday you’ll have it on Tuesday. I don’t like to make people lose time. Neither do I like to lose my time.

So, after talking to the head mistress, we agreed on the irresponsibility from the other part and she asked me to prepare a video like the one I made last year. I agreed and went to my classroom.

When I handed it in today (after a long weekend away from home, preparing a video which had to be ready WEEKS before…) someone went with the news to teacher number two. He said he couldn’t believe how I made the video when he was going to give it in blablablah… To what I said “Hey, you were supposed to hand in a 10 minutes video or powerpoint presentation LAST WEEK and you did nothing but make me do MORE extra work because of that…” And when I turned back to the head mistress office, he asked “what did you do? A powerpoint presentation?”

“Not exactly… I made a whole DVD”


Thanks to those who read this. School year is finishing this week (next one is final exam’s week) and I’m going madder every time something goes wrong for the end-of-year event.

[…] Toast on Professionalism” in The Teacher’s Magazine #109 and I also remembered what I wrote here after reading that article, and I […]

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