Does the US treat teachers like professionals?

Alexander Pope is an assistant professor in the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies. He also serves on the KDP Public Policy Committee.

Matt Miller, host of the podcast “This…Is Interesting,” recently interviewed Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World; And How They Got that Way. The interview talks about four American students’ experiences studying abroad, and makes sweeping suggestions for the organization of education and teacher education in the United States.

Do you feel the United States treats teachers like “professionals” (and what might that mean to you)?

4 thoughts on “Does the US treat teachers like professionals?

  1. R. Edwards says:

    I do not believe teacher’s are treated as professionals. I am expected to deliver outstanding instruction, but I am not given anywhere near the time to prepare excellent instruction. In fact, I have four different classes. With the limited prep time, I write the lessons for one and attempt to deliver the lessons written by others to the remaining students. This is not good for my students or me. It is however cheap and economical, which seems to be more important to the public.

    • Marcia Bolton says:

      I have been teaching since 1975. I have taught in public schools and higher education. Presently I prepare teachers as I am the director of student teaching at my university. I believe teachers are not held in high esteem as in other nations of the world. I do not think our pay reflects the long hours and hard work we put into achieving certification, but I do think we are partly responsible for the public perception of our role as professionals.
      I fight an uphill battle daily to get my pre-service candidates to realize they must dress professionally and take care to exercise professional dispositions so everyone they meet will know they just spoke with or observed a professional educator. The public, who feels over taxed, immediately responds to a “total physical picture” a professional presents long before they speak with the professional or have any interaction with that person. For example, the white coat for a doctor, the scrubs of a surgeon, the uniform of a professional soldier; the public recognizes and responds to outward appearance and instantly recognizes these professionals their role in the world.
      Teachers can benefit from presenting an image of a professional that is highly trained and proud of their job. Teachers often are rightfully so tired of fighting for salary, teaching resources, their students, safe working environments and at time present an angry person that is often not complementary of their profession. Wearing Uggs and sweatpants, no matter how appropriate for the activity in the classroom, as everyday working attire does not present a person proud to be in the teaching profession; rather someone who honors comfort over perception. Let’s help ourselves attain and keep professional admiration and always present a trained professional dressed for the part and articulate in the training we have received, not articulate in the anger we feel.

  2. A Fisher says:

    We aren’t treated as professionals. We aren’t paid like professionals, I know none of us is in teaching for the money, and the views of the general public is that teachers are lazy people that don’t know how to work a “real” job. My own mother-in-law told my children that I am a Special Education Teacher because I’m to dumb to have a real job. What is a real job? Is me working almost 80 hours a week to teach children not a real job? We respect stay at home mothers more than teachers. (I was a stay at home mom for 9 years and was treated way better then.) We need to fix the view of society because this profession leads to every other profession!

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