My son, severely dyslexic, was nurtured by nursery school, near-destroyed by upper primary, rescued by secondary and launched into the world, skilled and confident by university. I offer gratitude unbounded to my fellow educators who contributed.
He’s now thriving in a job he loves; one that uses his talents, respects his passion and understands his gifts. His company is simply the next stage of learning (albeit paid). It aspires to build a workplace where employees have, ‘No better professional life.‘ Expectations are high, as are committment and working hours, but my son and his team have the flexibility and autonomy to do what they do best in a system that values their contributions. He is a professional.
So, naturally, I got thinking about teaching. Can you honestly say the words, ‘there is no better professional life for me?‘ Well, before you jump in, let’s quantify and qualify the question we’re answering.
Here are five features of professionalism: autonomy, accountability, mastery, service and status. Score yourself out of 5 for each one, add them up, then decide.
Do you have the freedom to apply your professional experience, skills and knowledge in a way you see fit and in a manner that allows you to do your job the best you can? (0-5, 5 is yes)
Are you held to account for your professional decisions by an official body with whom you share a purpose and one that understands your day to day practice? (0-5)
Do you have the opportunity and motivation to develop your professional practice to the highest level? (0-5)
Does your profession and the part you play in it add value to the people it serves? Are you fulfilled by the work you do for others? (0-5)
Are you and your professional contributions publicly praised, valued and respected by your organisation, by your community and by your nation? (0-5)
Add up your scores*. The maximum is 25 (you are living your best professional life). Less than 15, maybe something needs to change, fast. Less than 5? Could there be something wrong with the profession, or your choice of profession?
*disclaimer: this is an exploratory piece to prompt discussion and thought, not something on which you should (solely) base a career move. Or a revolution.