The Importance of Maintaining Professionalism in Schools

Teacher in classroom

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Professionalism is a quality that every educator and school employee should possess. Administrators and teachers represent their school district and should do so at all times in a professional manner. This includes being mindful that you are still a school employee even outside of school hours.

Honesty and Integrity

All school employees should also be aware that they are almost always being watched by students and other community members. When you are a role model and authority figure for children, how you carry yourself matters. Your actions can always be scrutinized. Therefore, teachers are expected to be honest and act with integrity.

As such, it is crucial to always be honest about and up to date with all your certifications and licensures. Also, any kind of manipulation with other people's information, whether it is physical paperwork or in a conversation, needs to be limited to the necessities. This kind of approach will help you maintain physical and emotional safety, which are also critical responsibilities of a teacher.

Relationships

Building and maintaining respectful and positive relationships with the key stakeholders are main components of professionalism. This includes relationships with your students, their parents, other educators, administrators, and support personnel. Just like everything else, your relationships should be based on honesty and integrity. Failing to make deep, personal connections can create a disconnect that might impact the overall effectiveness of the school.

When dealing with students, it is important to be warm and friendly, while at the same time keeping a certain distance and not blurring the lines between your professional and personal lives. It is also key to treat everyone fairly and avoid bias or favoritism. This applies as much to your everyday interactions with your students as it does to your approach to their performance in class and their grades.

Similarly, your relationships with coworkers and administrators are crucial to your professionalism. A good rule of thumb is to always be polite and err on the side of caution. Taking on a learner's attitude, being openminded, and assuming best intentions go a long way.

Appearance

For educators, professionalism also includes personal appearance and dressing appropriately. It includes how you talk and act both inside and outside of school. In many communities, it involves what you do outside of school and with whom you have relationships. As a school employee, you must keep in mind that you represent your school district in everything that you do.

The following example policy is designed to establish and promote a professional atmosphere among the faculty and staff.

Professionalism Policy

All employees are expected to adhere to this policy and to at all times maintain professionalism such that an employee’s behavior and action(s) are not harmful to the district or workplace and such that an employee’s behavior and action(s) are not harmful to working relationships with teachers, staff members, supervisors, administrators, students, patrons, vendors, or others.

Staff members who take a sincere professional interest in students are to be commended. The teacher and administrator who inspires, guides, and helps students can have a lasting influence on students throughout their lives. Students and staff members should interact with each other in a warm, open, and positive fashion. However, a certain distance must be maintained between students and staff in order to preserve the businesslike atmosphere necessary to achieve the educational mission of the school.

The Board of Education considers it obvious and universally accepted that teachers and administrators are role models. The district has a duty to take steps to prevent activities which adversely intrude into the educational process and which could lead to undesirable consequences.

In order to maintain and preserve the appropriate environment necessary to achieve the educational mission of the school, any unprofessional, unethical, or immoral behavior or action(s) harmful to the district or workplace, or any such behavior or action(s) harmful to working relationships with co-workers, supervisors, administrators, students, patrons, vendors, or others may lead to disciplinary action under applicable disciplinary policies, up to, and including termination of employment.