5 Professional Commitments You Need to Make as a Teacher
To be a professional, you must act, think, and present yourself like a professional should. Here are 5 professional commitments that are essential for you to remember as you’re making a difference in the lives of students.
- Commit to being a lifelong learner. As a teacher, you’ll continue to learn from multiple sources of knowledge throughout your career. You have the opportunity to learn from practice, by making mistakes, from your students, and from other teachers and administrators.
The commitment also includes aggressively challenging yourself to excel. Opportunities to learn are all around the classroom and the school. With each new student and each new challenge, you have a new chance to learn. Professional development, workshops, conferences, or furthering your education are all avenues to obtaining knowledge. Although a degree is a great starting point, teaching looks very different when you’re a practicing teacher than when you’re a student in a classroom. And teachers who are continuous learners are modeling the importance of learning to their students.
- Use the curriculum responsibly. While a school district may provide you with a set curriculum to teach, you as the teacher decide what is important, how to make it interesting and relevant, and how to measure the progress. Responsibility to the curriculum means teachers actively make choices that allow them to best meet the needs of the learners.
- Cross your own familiar barriers and beliefs to meet the needs of all learners. Teachers must embrace diversity, including differences in ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status, disability, and sexual orientation. You must take steps to ensure that you don’t marginalize or exclude any students because their beliefs differ from yours. You must also commit to bridge the gap, not just with all your students, but also with their families.
- Meet the needs of individual students. While a classroom is one large group by design, it is made of many unique individuals with unique needs. You can meet learners’ needs by providing a variety of teaching methods, including direct instruction, grouping students, and rearranging the groups as needed. To reach the individual student, you must strive to motivate each individual, involve him or her in learning, and understand how to teach everyone, not simply aim to teach the average student. You must also be an advocate for your students as individuals, ensuring that they have all the resources they need to succeed.
- Actively contribute to the profession. Collaborating and contributing to the school and classrooms are not just part of the job; they are teachers’ responsibilities. Active teachers seek to advance and improve all areas of education. Passive teachers, on the other hand, come to work to do their minimum to collect a paycheck. Teaching is not a nine-to-five job where you can clock in and clock out at the same time every day without a thought to things being left undone; teaching is a process that must be constantly nurtured by all stakeholders, especially teachers.