The Professionalism of Teachers

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Becoming teachers or educators seem to be easy, but it is not applicable in today’s environment. In this new era of globalization, teachers must ready to challenge high activity of teaching to prepare the great generation. Bear in mind, to be teachers is to be the professional in teaching and managing situation.Nowadays, to understand of teachers role and skill to acquire turn into very crucial aspects for every one of them. Instead of having knowledge and skills to teach, recently a lot of issues concerning on ethical dilemma among teachers has raised radically. Currently research has been done to identify many ethical issues significance to educator. Professional organization such as Association of Associate Early Childhood Educators (ACCESS), the Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), and the National Association of Early Childhood Teachers Educators (NAECTE) have joint together to conduct those research. The discussion of ethical code of conduct among teachers that have been defined broadly by organization such as National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) should help teacher to lessen ethical dilemmas.

Nevertheless, the research and methodology to provide balance in teaching atmosphere would not work well without the great awareness from the teachers. Theoretically, every code of ethics introduce are simple in words, but rather than rely on all of these method, the real life of teachers need more in convenient responsiveness. For teachers there are no hard and false rules in applying all the ethical conduct describe in daily life as educator, however every teacher have got to prepare, provide support and encourage themselves to become professional teachers in this robust environment of education.

Key of professional teachers
The ethical dilemma always confronts the professionalism of teachers. Professional ethics is a shared process of critical reflection upon our obligation of professionals[1]. These describe ethical dilemmas as conflicts between two or more core values. They involve hard choices that force us to give up something important[2]. Rather than the justification of right or wrong there always engages individual’s emotion and personal lives. Furthermore, an ethical issue always has its roots in the occupational, political, religious, leisure and educational groups of adults[3]. In reality, to apply the ethical codes and theories need sensitivity of surrounding; students, families, colleagues, and communities.

Teachers who conscious and reflect to their surrounding will make it better in managing their life as educator. While making several decisions especially that difficult to determine, teachers always need to balance the demand and their responsibilities. A code of professional ethics acknowledges that practitioners have responsibilities to their clients, the public, employing institutions, and fellow professionals[4]. Without a doubt, decision making is critical and a lot of considerations need to be made and ethical code surely will help.

Research has been made by NAEYC and the outcome is the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. The result impressed many professional on ethical issues and principles in teaching environment. Moreover, the collaborative works between ACCESS, DEC and NAECTE have been established to examine the code of conduct which initiate three critical aspects; teachers must know the code of conduct and the highest standards of ethical conduct, teachers have complex responsibilities to multiple clients (students, families, colleague, and communities)[5]. This collaboration takes place in national conference and mostly done in discussion forum. The objectives are; to share all the principle of ethical codes and provide useful guideline for educators.

With ethical issues gaining attention in the media, the role of ethics in the work of teacher educators has become an area of growing interest out of both curiosity and necessity. The professional and political climate demands that ethics be explicitly and intentionally addressed. Ethical practice cannot be left to intuition, good will, and feeling about what is right or wrong[6].

Day by day the challenges in education environment grow extensively. Researches have indicated that teachers must ready to reflect to all the rapid changes in education and surrounding environment. The soft skills such as communication and negotiation skills are much more important in certain situation especially when dealing with decision making. Teachers who equipped themselves with these skills are more valuable in the professional impression of teaching and education.

Contrast Observation
Rather than focusing on ethics or the code of conduct in relation to be professional teachers, every teacher should be able to have skills of guidance to resolve problems face by their student; be able to reflect in any circumstances; prepare themselves to practice lifelong learning; and equipped themselves to face challenges caused by globalization of education[7]. For that reason, teachers must definitely realize and understand their roles and responsibilities in order to meet expectation as an excellent teacher.

Teachers are guidance and counselor to the student. In context of education, guidance can be referred as appropriate aid or assistance which is rendered to a student[8]. While counseling is an interacting process which allows an individual to understand himself/herself in particular situation[9]. According to G.S Belkin;
“Guidance includes aspects such as orientation, inventory, education and career information. While counseling covers choice of location and service.”[10]

The main purpose of giving guidance and counseling is to help student and provide proper suggestion to resolve their problems. By knowing the problem firmly teachers should be able to provide some suggestion and motivation to the student. To realize that problems come from several aspects such as the weaknesses of teaching and learning, personal factor, low intelligence quotients, physical and also psychological factor, give teachers better understanding of the situation. Suggestions made are; teachers need to learn the problem properly.

As stated before, professional ethics partly done by teachers who having sensitivity and always reflect to certain situation. Teachers should be a reflective practitioner to bring sensitivity into their life and teaching style. Reflection is a kind of thinking process, whereby a student tries to recollect and reflect on the education activity which has been thought out (planned) or experienced, analyzed and evaluated its effect, including the thinking of a better way to correct and re plan by making modification so that it can be implemented more effectively in the follow-up activity[11]. This reflection process consists of three main components; reflection in action, reflection on action, and knowing in action. Principally to reflect is to think.

In today’s life, knowledge is everything. Primarily, knowledge is a big asset for human being. Knowledge is so dynamic and keeps on changes especially in the era of information and technology. Gaining knowledge is taking life time effort. Once we stop from being ‘knowledgeable’ we become a dull person. Teachers who teach students or person will need to keep track of their knowledge and always updated. Furthermore, they must always in the knowledge culture if want to stay in the professional world of teaching.

Someone who’s professional always know their responsibility and accountability; to themselves, the client and the society. Societies always give high expectation to teachers. They believe teachers have great influence in shaping their children personality and outlook. It is because a school is and education institution set up by society[12]. The aspirations of the societies always come from teachers itself. Honestly, teachers constantly turn out to be the change agent of the societies. Hence, every teacher must realize their roles and responsibilities not only in schools, but to the whole societies outside.

In this new millennium, accountability of teachers can be expressed as; working task, schools, students and profession[13]. Teaching turn into much demanded profession, but the situation in global and ICT (Information, Communication, Technology) era require teachers keep the fast track of changes. The use of technologies in teaching cannot be avoided anymore. Actually it is a great opportunities to education system to change to the new approach, in time not neglecting the traditional approach. Nowadays, a professional skill of teaching by using the ICT technologies comes in great demand. No other words, teachers must prepare to adapt to the changes which will surely challenge every teachers in Malaysia.

On the other hand, professionalism of teaching in Islamic framework, basically measure by the success in developing person’s intellect, inner value, emotion and physical balance. The Islamic perspective of education involves total development of faith, morale, mind and heart, emotional and physical[14]. This concept of balance really suit with the nature of human being which consist of body, soul, intellect and emotion. Islam constantly relies on this type of education to develop the civilization. Without knowledge, human beings are nothing. That is why Islam really respects the profession of teachers because they bring responsibilities to deploy knowledge to the societies. Verses from Quran (translation):
“Who is better in speech than one who calls men to God and work righteousness?”[15]

“Invite all to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful in preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious”[16]

Without a doubt teachers have to be excellent role model to their students, colleague, parents and the whole communities. The first impression comes to mind was how the charisma and morale of becoming educator. The values that always been required to be a good teacher such as; honesty, good networking in society, tolerance, patience and keep their life in best situation.

Writer’s review
The role of teachers in deliver knowledge was well accepted in general. The standard in teaching line nowadays has become most important thing in develop our future generation as the teachers himself have to prepared themselves in this modern education system. The way of life needs to be considered as balancing the current and future demands by looking at different perspectives. Look at the obvious weaknesses in Western educational system when abandoning these balances. The power of secular believe in the Western globe dominate the mind to be really materialistic in building their civilization. Thus, teachers should develop their professionalism in very balance manner to become great educator.

In conclusion, the professional ethics of teachers supposed to be learned. Instead of relying on skills acquired in the training centre, learn by experience is more precious in life. Without practicing all the skills gain, nothing will improve in teachers’ days. In addition, all those skills should be integrated with the realization to build strong charisma, good inner values and the excellent of morale. Once again, take into account that to turn into professional need the process of life time learning.

1. Theresa M, Journal of Teacher Education, Bologna, 1997
2. Mok Soon Sang, An Education Course for KPLI Theme 3, Subang Jaya, Kumpulan Budiman Sdn Bhd, 2003
3. Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim, Guru Sebagai Role Model Daripada Perspektif Islam: Satu Cadangan, Perak, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, 2003

[1] Feeney and Kipnis, 1985
[2] Kipnis, 1987
[3] Nash, 1991
[4] Macmillan, 1993
[5] Theresa M, Journal of Teacher Education, Bologna, 1997
[6] opcit 1, 5
[7] Mok Soon Sang, An Education course for KPLI, Perak, 2003, 1
[8] Crow & Crow, 1983
[9] Shertzer and Stone, 1968
[10] G.S Belkin, Practical Counseling in Schools
[11] Mok Soon Sang, An Education Course for KPLI, 2003, 52
[12] Mok Soon Sang, An Education Course for KPLI, 2003, 112

[13] Ibid, 126

[14] Yusof Qaradawi, 1998
[15] Al-Quran, Fussilat:33
[16] Al-Quran, An Nahl, 125

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