Professionalism is easy to distinguish in some careers – by their dress, their voice, their standards. I’ve had as many types of teachers as I’ve had teachers. The different doctors I’ve seen over the years have been very similar in demeanor (even in Korea, though that’s another story of the circumstances of needing to see a doctor). Given the achievements of the Korean students, I expected a certain professionalism among their teachers I saw in, well, other professions. What I saw, though, was not unlike teachers in America. One teacher was highly focused on rigid memorization. Another used games constantly while another used role play. One teacher used projects, another used discipline. The results varied as widely as the teachers – certain students would react better to a certain method (I’ll have to explore this in a whole other post). The problem lands on the students, as the teacher’s have their own preferences. Yes, all the teachers (in Korea or otherwise) get their bachelors, masters or beyond, but when they’re in the classroom they react as how they always would.
Since people are different, they’ll treat children differently based on their own preferences, culture or otherwise. Some children will be taught, some will learn science, some will learn history, but something or someone is always left behind (this isn’t about that other ‘left behind’ act). As in other professions, teachers have to work together to ensure methods and standards in the role of being a teacher. It shouldn’t be left up to the district, or people who never were teachers, but teachers themselves setting the standard and controlling the standard. It’ll start small, but it’ll grow. I hope it includes tweed jackets.