On Teacher Professionalism

Module 2 eJournal

Teacher professionalism as I understand it is when teachers possess the necessary competence, skills and know how that is aligned with the set standard, rules and qualification by a regulatory board. In the Philippine setting, teachers should have completed the education and training requirement, pass the board examination and hold a license given by the Philippine Regulation Commission.

My definition of teacher professionalism is somewhat similiar with (Millerson 1964) feature list of how occupation can be termed a profession namely:

  • the use of skills based on theoretical knowledge
  • education and training in those skills certified by examination
  • a code of professional conduct oriented towards the ‘public good’
  • a powerful professional organisation.

After reading the resource materials, I am surprised to know that during the early times, teaching have not been regarded as a profession but as a craft or semi-profession. “One of the main reasons for its semi-professional positioning was that school teaching was and remains a strongly feminized occupation” Beck (2008: 122). Lack of individual autonomy is another reason. Leiter (1978) states that “occupations such as teaching and nursing claim professional status but are not completely accorded this status because their individual autonomy is often under organizational control”. In contrast, in China during 1929, professors were among the officially identified as elite professionals. Crook (2008: 15). This only shows that teacher professionalism depends on the state’s or society’s perception and also changes with time.

I also learned about the different types of professionalism which are Traditional Professionalism where teachers have the absolute autonomy, Managerial Professionalism where teachers were managed by state at national level, Collaborative Professionalism where the community were part of the decision making and Democratic Professionalism were all stakeholders were taken into consideration.

I am grateful to my teachers which I also regard as my mentors. While they might have the professional status and respectability, monetarily they are not compensated well. This is the main reason why our best teachers are going abroad to earn multiple times of what they are earning at home. Some even get domestic helper jobs even they have the teacher qualifications just to meet their families needs. The brain drain continues…

I hope with our new president, things will get better for our teachers and the Philippine education in general.


Teacher Professionalism: A Literature Riview by Jeanne Gamble

‘Collaborative’ and ‘Democratic’ Professionalisms: Alternatives to ‘Traditional’ and ‘Managerialist’ Approaches to Teacher Autonomy? By WHITTY, Geoff* and WISBY, Emma**

Defining “Teacher Professionalism” from different perspectives by Nihan DemirkasÕmo

Understanding Teachers’ Perspectives on Professionalism by Mercedes S. Tichenor John M. Tichenor Stetson University Stetson University


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