21. On a teacher becoming a professional

1 08 2012


A profession according to  the Oxford Dictionary,  is a type of job that needs special training or skill especially one that needs a high level of education. Professionalism assumes that we expect from a person who is  well trained in a particular job, a high standard.

The professional responsibilities of  a teacher usually involves the following:

* Thinking about ones own teaching and being on the look out for ways of improving it.

*Keeping a clear record of  the work of ones own student.

*Communicating with the parents and the institutional authorities the performance of the students, one is assigned to teach.

*Contributing positively both  to the institution one is working and the community.

*Demonstrating professionalism includes:

a. Working  for the best interests of ones students;

b.Ensuring that all students are valued and helped in ones institution;

c. Making decisions that benefit the institution rather than oneself;

d. Maintaining  a positive and healthy relationship with the students and the staff.

During the  recently  concluded  International Conference  of ELTAI held at Chennai, one  session was devoted to  a Panel Discussion on ‘How I Became a Professional’

An erudite scholar Dr. Chellapan one of the panellists,  had this to say:

* A teacher rediscovers knowledge.

* Teaching can focus on the Universal and the Particular…on the Cognitive and the Affective…That is, it must  be sensitive to Knowledge and Art.  A teacher must be academically sound and artistically perfect  in communication.

*Beauty may be aesthetic…but Duty is ethical… The teacher ought to have a human obligation… a commitment  and  a passion for knowledge… the right kind of passion… and a commitment to inquiry and practice.

* Making others learn by teaching is actually impossible…Ideally teaching should be in the form of a dialogue… We are familiar with drilling in the Structural Approach:

This is a book

This is a book

This is a book

This is a book

This is a book

…Such drilling may help in memorising … but the moment the pattern changes:

Learner: This is a book…This is a book…This is a book..

Teacher: Why?

Now learning happens… Students begin to think…

* It is imperative for every teacher to evolve his/her own identity.

* Teachers need to draw on Literature, Language and Art. Teaching would involve:

1.Knowledge for Practice

2. Knowledge of Practice

3.Knowldege through Practice

It is worth recalling Gandhiji…Education for life…Education through life…Education throughout life…


I  particularly liked an anecdote which Dr. Chellapan  narrated: Some thirty years ago,     Dr. Faustus was  being  screened in  a  cinema theatre in Chennai. As  he was teaching the same play, he asked his  students to  see the film. A  couple of days later  when    Dr. Chellappan inquired  about the  acting in the film… his students had only one thing to say: “ Sir.. Dr. Faustus’  description of  Helen’s face “ …Is this the face that launched a thousand ships” lacked the passion  which you  showed when you enunciated the lines in the class!”  To this Dr. Chellapan had this to say to his students: “ Well… in the film, Richard Burton was addressing his wife… and in the class  I was  addressing  an imaginary Helen!”

From the note that I made  from Dr. Chellapan’s talk don’t you think he is a true professional?….Wouldn’t you like to be one too??





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