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Definition of professionalism in education

Updated April 17, 2017

When it comes to professionalism, teachers have to balance connecting with students and projecting a professional image. In addition, teachers have greater ethical concerns than many other professionals, and also have to maintain standards on their required testing and certification.

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Although requirements vary from state to state, all states have professional standards for K-12 teachers. Most require a bachelor's degree with a teaching major and basic testing for certification. In addition, most states require that teachers work toward a master's degree within a specific period. They must also attend mandatory professional training sessions.

Expectations in the Classroom

Professional classroom conduct is difficult to define, because regions and situations will dictate different behaviour. Overall, a teacher should be sensitive to the demographics of the class as well as socioeconomic differences. Teacher should be able to act rationally with thought in volatile situations while still maintaining good communication.

Out of the Classroom

Conduct beyond the classroom should be reasonable, the teacher should be aware that she is always in the spotlight. While teachers aren't expected to treat all situations like they would in a classroom, they should be aware that their actions are noted by the community and reflect on the profession.

Responsibility to Students

As part of a professional image, teachers should be good role models to students. Language and actions should reflect adult behaviour and be honourable and fair. Because they are in the public eye, teachers should always be aware of their actions and behave ethically.


Teachers should be well organised and keep accurate records of grades and other student behaviour. They should be aware of all deadlines and adhere to their administrative duties in the school.

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About the Author

Catherine Rayburn-Trobaug

Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh has been a writer and college writing professor since 1992. She has written for international companies, published numerous feature articles in the "Wilmington News-Journal," and won writing contests for her poetry and fiction. Rayburn-Trobaugh earned a Master of Arts in English from Wright State University.

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