I’ve just returned home from a course focussed on, well, the above. In brief Burkin differentiated between these two practices.
Teaching practice is what you do in the class, whereas professional practice is everything else. Professional practice covers the quality of reports you write, meeting deadlines, how you conduct yourself and interact. Professional practice even includes journalling, professional readings and duty.
Teachers can be great at the teaching practice, but poor at professional practice. Good professional practice develops the teaching practice.
Additionally Burkin discussed being a teacher as a learner, or rather, ‘having a growth mindset’ compared to a fixed mindset. The fixed mindset is of course being happy for things to stay as they are.
I found this very pertinent. Last year was probably the worst year I have had in quite some time, mainly because of things in my personal life. It is the year I have felt the least professional, and at the most someone doing the minimum requirements to earn a paycheck. I reflected on this to some measure, recording it on my appraisal document. I was very fortunate to have the support of my colleagues and management during that time.
Perhaps it is pertinent then that as we make the shift to team teaching I am in many ways beginning again. My goal this year is to be more professional than I have ever been, including when I have been at my peak. Last year really is a poor year to compare anything to.
A part of this change will require me to get past the fixed mindset. Yes, I love to learn and be challenged, but I have failed to do this in the context of observations. I suspect I have been tied up too much with the idea that if I am doing anything imperfectly I have failed (and that that failure is therefore a negative).
Another challenge that came out of today was in regards to the ’emotional’ person (again, me). Yes that is who I am, but it cannot be allowed to stop me being professional.
At this point I really have ore questions than answers. I don’t know if I will still be teaching in two years, or if I will have gone after another career. I do know that I plan on teaching for two more years and that I intend to continue developing in this area.
We shall see.