Recently I saw a tweet that asked if teachers or parents were the final word on a child’s education. I have also had conversations with some overly involved parents that I know personally. In speaking to them it bothered me that at no point in time did they concede the idea that a teacher is in fact a professional. Personally, I have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and numerous other trainings and certifications on top of that including an additional 54 credit hours of graduate level work. And yet, even with all that education I am still seen as a teacher, rarely a professional.
The difficult thing is that I know I am not alone in my feelings on this. The phrase, “those who can’t do, teach” is one that is out there in society and we have all heard it. Going into teaching I know I wasn’t doing it for the glamour and certainly not for the money. However, I know that the job I embark in on a daily basis and the work I do with my colleagues is of great importance and holds implications on the future.
While I don’t want to diminish the role of a parent, I do think teacher’s have the final word when it comes to a child’s education. When my car is broken I take it to a mechanic. Why? They are trained professionals when it comes to fixing cars and making decisions about what is needed. When my plumbing is backed up I call a plumber. Why? They are trained professionals when it comes to fixing plumbing related issues. So, why is it that when it comes to educational decisions, our opinions as teachers are not always held in such a high regard. Now, I am not to say that we have not all experienced bad mechanics and plumbers. Also, I am not going to stand here and say that all teachers adhere to the gold standard. However, as teachers we are trained professionals that go through training to be experts in what we do. We need to remember that we are professionals and be confident in ourselves but also now that we need to always conduct ourselves in a professional manner to earn our due respect.
Next time a parent questions your decisions or makes you feel less than the professional you are, stand confident and trust in yourself as the trained teacher you are. On the other side of the coin, be supportive of new teachers and those that may have strayed from the path of good teaching. Remind them that we are professionals that need to be treated as such but also need to act in a manner that reflects that.