Personal and Professional Attributes of a Teacher

The professional teacher is the “licensed professional who possesses dignity and reputation with high moral values as well as technical and professional competence s/he adheres to observes, and practices a set of ethical and moral principles, standards and values.” (Code of Ethics of Professional Teachers, 1997) The professional teacher is one who went through four to five year period of rigorous academic preparation in teaching and one who is given a license to teach by the Board for Professional Teachers of the Professional Regulation Commission after fulfilling requirements prescribed by law such as passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). S/he is registered in the roster of professional teachers at the Professional Regulation Commission and undergoes continuing professional education.

Professional Attributes

A professional teacher perceives himself/herself as someone who can effect change or learning, (sense of efficacy) because s/he is an expert in what s/he teaches (subject matter knowledge), and in how s/he teaches (pedagogical knowledge).

A professional teacher possesses the following attributes:

  • Control f the knowledge base of teaching and learning and use of this knowledge to guide the science and art
    of his/her teaching practice
  • Repertoire of best teaching practice and can use these to instruct children in classrooms and to work with adults in the school setting
  • Dispositions and skills to approach all aspects of hisiier work in a reflective, collegial, and problem-solving manner
  • View of learning to teach as a lifelong process and dispositions and skills for working towards improving his/her own teaching as well as improving schools (Arends, 1994)

The last attribute cited by Arends highlights sense of service as badge of the professional teacher. Dedication to the job of teaching is the true essence of professionalism. Today we lament over the fast disappearing breed of teachers with a missionary spirit. 

Personal Attributes

Personality is the sum of one’s personal characteristics. It is one’s identity. The teachers, more than any other professional, are momentarily subjected to scrutiny to the minutest detail and observation by those they associate with. Teachers are judged more strictly than other professionals. The personality they project determines the impressions they make upon students and colleagues. Their poise, bearing and manner of dressing create a stunning and attractive appearance. Their facial expression communicates a friendly and amiable disposition.

Personalities may be described as authoritative, weak, dynamic, or “magnetic”. Teacher’s personality must be natural and genuine, that is, devoid of pretenses and artificiality. They must be consistent, true and authentic. Some outstanding personal qualities that never fail to win their flock are worth printing in gold.

1. Passion

Passion in teaching is a compelling force that emerges from one’s inborn love for children. Passionate teachers exude spontaneity in ministering to the needs of the students especially those experiencing learning difficulties. Passion, being an overpowering feeling requires judgmental decisions, hence teachers can sense differing reactions that must be corrected with appropriate reformative action. Passion does not die nor diminish. They feel they “will live and die a teacher.”

2. Humor

Humor stands for anything funny, which elicits a smile, laughter or amusing reaction. It is an essential quality of teachers that serves a number of purposes. Nothing will be difficult to undertake since a common feeling of eagerness exists among the students it is not a surprise that students identify and describe their teachers by the enthusiasm and warmth they enjoy with them every minute.

3. Values and Attitude

Teachers are models of values. Whether conscious of them or not values are exhibited implicitly and explicitly. Values connote standards, code of ethics and strong beliefs.

Open-mindedness is basic in promoting respect and trust between teachers and students. It opens avenues for unrestricted search for information and evidence. Problems and issues are resolved in a democratic way. Students are encouraged to consider one another’s findings and explanations. Free exchanges of suggestions develop a respectful attitude among them.

Fairness and impartiality in treating students eliminate discrimination. Teachers must be unbiased and objective in judging their work and performance. Avoid preferential considerations that result to negative response and indifference. Objective evaluations are easily accepted and gratefully acknowledged. Fairness inculcates self-confidence and trust among students.

Sincerity and honesty are values exhibited in words and actions. Teachers interact with students every minute. Their mannerisms, habits and speech are watched and at times imitated. Therefore teachers must show their real self, devoid of pretenses and halt-truths. Sincerity dictates that they stick to the truth, to the extent of confessing what they do not know about the lesson. Mistakes and faults are accepted and not -covered up”. In the end, students realizes that it is better to tell the truth than feign a falsehood. Sincerity and honesty are taken as openness in dealing with others.

Professionalism is highly treasured in the teaching profession. Teachers are adjudged professional if they are knowledgeable, skilled and value-laden. In addition to compe-tence in teaching, they must have internalized the edicts of the profession, thus exhibit ethical and moral conduct. Upright and exemplary in behavior they earn respect and high esteem from students, colleagues. They catch students’ attention and keep them focused on the topic, to soothe their feeling, away from tension and to develop a sense of humor among themselves. Teachers’ humor connects them with their students like a magnet. They help in merging two worlds – youth and maturity. When they laugh together, young and old, teachers and students, they cease to be conscious of their age difference. They enjoy as a group, thus promote a spirit of togetherness. A clean joke will always elicit rapport in a learning environment. 

4. Patience

In teaching, patience refers to a teacher’s uncomplaining nature, self-control and persistence. Patient teachers can forego momentous frustrations and disappointments. Instead they calmly endure their students’ limitations and difficulties. Teachers cannot help but feel impatient with students’ irresponsibility and carelessness in performing classroom routine. Remembering how their teachers felt when they, as young students committed similar mistakes, they are able to alleviate such misbehavior with coolness and equanimity. The inability of students to progress, as they should in learning a concept, can likewise test the teachers’ composure. The teachers’ capacity to adjust their methodologies could allay the tension, at the same time save time and effort for appropriate remediation. While it is natural to feel irritated and upset at times, meeting-disquieting situations with cool-headedness is indicative of one’s moral strength and fortitude.

5. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is syndnymous to eagerness and excitement. Enthusiastic teachers are full of energy and dynamism. Their passion and love for children are easily felt and not long after their lively presence in the classroom. Everyone anticipates an interesting and enjoyable learning activity. Unfortunately, not all teachers are born with an alert and zestful disposition. With enthusiastic teachers, students look forward to any activity they can participate in with them.

Enthusiasm is a gift. It is contagious and can instantly affect children’s moods and attitudes. Undoubtedly it is an irresistible feeling that intensifies the students’ momentum to reach a desired goal. It connects teachers to parents. The deserve the title ‘shepherd to their flocks,” and staunch protectors of their rights and privileges. Commitment is a “solemn promise” to perform tht duties and responsibilities mandated by the laws and code of ethics of the profession. It is an unwavering pledge to perform all teaching and learning activities with consistency and selflessness to the best interest of the students under their care. Committed teachers are ready to carry on no matter the price. 

Small Group Activities

  1. Describe the professional teacher by means of a song or verses.
  2. Pantomime some unprofessional teacher behaviors before the class. Let the rest of the class identify that unprofessional behavior that was pantomimed.
  3. “Like all good teachers, you have a touch of the actor. …You also have a touch of the doctor or nurse in you” said Rev. Father Joseph V. Landy, SJ. In what sense is the professional teacher an actor, a doctor and a nurse?
  4. Let the class debate on which is more important- the professional or personal attributes of the teacher? Divide the class into two groups that face each other. One group is for professional attributes, the other, personal attributes. A synthesis must be given at the end.
  5. Are good teachers born or made? Conduct an English Debate by dividing the class into two sections facing each other according to the position taken on the topic. Each side has a leader who leads the argument. If someone’s argument convinces anyone that they should change sides, they literally get up and move to the other side. A count is taken at the beginning and end to note changes made. Teacher may do the synthesizing to conclude the activity.
  6. What is the role of teachers as suggested by the quotation below?

“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.”

— Chinese Proverb