A Review: The Practice and Profession of Teaching

The practice and profession of teaching differs in many ways from other career professions. In a few ways this profession is also similar to others such as medicine or law. Teaching has for a long time been done in a certain tradition but that has changed gradually over the years. Just as in other professions, teachers at the beginning of this profession face challenges that experienced teachers do not encounter. “These include becoming licensed to teach, getting a first job, and successfully performing their responsibilities”

            Beginner teachers have to be licensed to teach in a public school after graduating, he/she must meet the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). That is, they must demonstrate high level of knowledge, skills and commitment. NBPTS does not consider an individual being more of an expert or that he/she is exceptionally qualified. Licensing is established and controlled by the government. The government can use transcript assessment method, where a graduate submits his/ her college transcripts to the state education department and thereafter the department can determine whether the candidate is fit for licensure. The other method that can be used is the completion of an approved program. After graduation from an accredited teacher education program, the candidate can be licensed to teach in that state.

            Traditionally, it has been a norm that teachers commit themselves to a lifetime career in schools’ classrooms to exhibit professional behaviour. Critics believed that young teachers were forced to make such commitments too early in their college careers, when they hadn’t reached the proper ages to make sound decisions on the career path they wished their lives should take. Or, that they couldn’t fit in other professions and therefore ended opting to teaching. However the profession of teaching has been changing over the years. Individuals now prefer doing teaching and then change to other professions after several years of teaching. Others start with other professions and later get into the teaching practice. Jerry, who used to be a software developer once said that he was a career changer. He thought that he could get into a new field. That is, to fulfil his mission in life, he started teaching to change the kids’ lives by giving them more options and try to make their lives more powerful in a way.

            In 1989, a program was started, where graduates without the teacher’s background training were given an opportunity to become teachers. This started with five hundred recruits who were trained for eight weeks on teaching responsibilities. By the year 2008, this number had grown to five thousand Teach For America (TFA) recruits. The departments of defence and Energy civilian employees also started engaging into teaching from the year 1994. Their aim was to develop new careers and also to act as role models to their students.

            Teaching profession can be enjoyable if viewed in a different angle. Studies have shown that case teaching method can change the way life in a classroom usually is, to how it is supposed to be. That is, real life education raises one’s knowledge of teaching and learning cultures. Research has shown that in some locations and some specialties, there is high demand of teachers. Such specialties include special education, sciences, foreign languages and mathematics. Teachers can be motivated to join such specialties and maintaining them there by offering them cash bonuses and high salary ranges.

Reference

McNergney, R. F., & McNergney, J. M. (2006). Education: The practice and profession of teaching. Allyn & Bacon.

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