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The Professional Educator

Monday marks the kickoff of American Education Week.  This is a week designed to shine the spotlight on the work of students, teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, custodians, cafeteria workers, and parents as it relates to teaching and learning.  It is a week of recognition, celebration, and honor. As a building, we will have visitors from the community spending time with us in classrooms, parents touring the building, and special performances of the National Anthem by some of our outstanding performing arts students.

Let’s talk today about what it means to be a teacher…You have all heard the story of what a teacher makes…but here is a cool video by Taylor Mali that truly says what a teacher makes!

I will be delivering to staff donuts and coffee Monday morning – but more importantly I will be delivering to them their own business cards.  Yes, business cards.  That may seem odd, but I want my staff to know I view them as professionals – I want my community to know my teachers are professionals – I want my parents to know my teachers are professionals…professional educators.

What is a professional educator?  Is that different than a teacher?  Is it just another ‘buzz word’, a step toward a business model?  NO – not in my opinion.  I know the work of my staff, the hours they put in, the years of education they have accumulated.  My staff is not simply a teaching staff, my staff is a staff of professional educators.

As I go around on Monday to my staff, I will be thanking them not only for all the work they do, the hours they put in, but also for their dedication to the lives of young people.  Teachers do not put in the hours they do for a paycheck, we have all heard that before.  But did you realize that the average teacher pay in the United States, according to National Center for Education Statistics (2012), is $56, 069.  All teachers have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, and many have Master’s Degrees, we even have one with a Doctorate Degree.  Think about what is asked of these amazing men and women each and every day…

Expectations and requirements of teachers:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Continual professional development (5 college credits or 70 hours of school PD every 5 years)
  • Pass certain exams to be considered “Highly Qualified”
  • Teach classes of, on average, 24 kids per class (in many cases 6 classes per day)
  • Grade homework, tests, quizzes
  • Plan lessons of high quality
  • Implement the Common Core State Standards
  • Supervise school events, dances, games, etc
  • Be aware of bullying, drinking, tobacco, and drug prevention
  • Monitor behaviors of all students
  • Be a role model
  • Call, email, text, etc parents about the work students are doing, or perhaps not doing
  • Be technologically savvy

This is only a beginning, a partial list, but you get the point – teachers are not what so many believe them to be – they are not the people who simply take summers off, don’t work weekends, nor are they less intelligent that those in the private sector…TEACHERS ARE BRILLIANT, MOTIVATED, DEDICATED, AND CARING YEAR-ROUND EMPLOYEES.

But this doesn’t fit on a business card – they are so much more than just the word “teacher” – so I have chosen for my teachers to put “Professional Educator” on their business cards.  After all, they deserve it!  They are professional, they are educators, they are in a word AMAZING, or maybe INSPIRING, but truly they are EXCEPTIONAL.  I am very proud of the professional educators I get to be with each and every day.  I am honored to work along side them, to support them, and to do everything in my power to help them be successful.  Below is one of the business cards I will be handing out Monday…I do hope my professional educators appreciate them and understand the sentiment behind them.  I believe very strongly in those two words…Professional Educator

  •  business card








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One Comment

  1. EdTechSandyK

    Darrin, I enjoyed reading this post! Your teachers are blessed to have you as their leader – a leader who believes in them and understands their worth.

    It brought to mind my first year of teaching, over 20 years ago. I was fortunate to get a position in a brand new school. As a gift to everyone on her new staff, our principal Dr. Ford have each of us our own set of business cards. I was fortunate from day one of my career to see myself as a professional educator due to that gesture and so many more things Dr. Ford did to invest in me over the next five years. Because of her, I have never seen myself as “just a teacher” like so many educators do.

    The world of education needs more Mr. Peppards and Dr. Fords! Thank you for all you are doing to build up our profession and serve students. And for bringing up a very fond memory for me today!

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