TEACHING – A PROFESSION, OR A VOCATION ?
Is teaching really a profession ? Not when you consider the lack of control that a teacher has over their situation. How can teaching be considered a profession when a teacher is expected to obtain certain results with their students and yet have almost no control over the methods or curriculum that they may use ? Can you imagine a doctor or dentist having little or no control over how they are going to treat their patients ? How about a lawyer having very little say over how he or she will prepare a case ?
Teachers are also the only “profession” I know of that are governed by people, (school boards), who might very well consist of people who had no teaching experience whatsoever. Curriculum and methods are usually determined by administrators who were never teachers or taught briefly and were unsuccessful at teaching so they moved on to administration.
Teaching today is heading towards what I would describe as a vocation. It’s a vocation because in order to meet the demands of making sure that every child succeeds, teachers are expected to devote the greater part of their life to their work. In the current “whatever it takes” philosophy of education, all teachers will soon be expected to make their students part of their life. The majority of teachers will not be married and or have time to have a family of their own. The school day for teachers will be at least twelve hours long if prep time and after school tutoring are included. Home visits by teachers will take up much of their “free time” and weekend tutoring session will not allow for much of a social life.
Teachers will need to be single, not involved in a relationship, devote endless hours to their work, have virtually no social life, have a single focus on the success of their students, and probably be forced to take strict vows as part of their certification. Hmm, single, no social life, endless hours, vows ? This sounds vaguely familiar to the type of teachers who taught me in Catholic grade school. I knew the public schools would have to get around to copying that model sooner or later if they wanted to succeed!