Professionalism in the Education Workplace
Important Questions to Consider
By NAfME Member Tina Krawcyk
Can my behavior outside of work affect my certification?
Yes! Being an educator means that you take on the responsibility of being a role model to your students and the community. This responsibility occurs both inside and outside of the classroom. There are many reasons your certification can be suspended or revoked. Be sure to check your state education website for a code of ethics that teachers must follow. You should also be aware of any school board policies involving teacher behavior. With the prevalence of social media, your actions can easily be discovered, so be aware!
Why does how I dress matter so much?
Again, you are a role model in the school. If you take your position seriously, students and other stakeholders will know and will respond to you better. Following your organization’s dress code policy is one simple way to show that you are aware of your role and that you respect the rules. In addition, looking professional will keep you acting professional.
What do I need to know about the culture of the community in which my school is located?
There are many aspects to culture, such as: dress, clothing, food, art, celebrations, and more. Knowing what is important to stakeholders can help you gain support for your program. Knowing and understanding the culture of the area can also help you relate to students more, as well communicate better with their caregivers.
Why is organizational culture important?
Every organization has their own culture. It is important to know and understand how the administration in your building and in your district work. Knowing and understanding what is important in your organization is important to making your life easier!
What kind of relationship should I have with my students?
Knowing the culture and expectations of the community and the school will help set the guidelines for appropriate relationships. It is important to remember that you are their teacher—not their parent or friend. Tips for establishing (and sticking to boundaries) are shared in the webinar I deliver in NAfME Academy.
How can I establish a good relationship with my co-workers?
You may spend more time with the people you work with than with your family, so it is important to get along. You all have the same goal—to educate your students! Try to avoid gossip and negative people. As with students, it is important to establish and maintain boundaries until you are able to determine who you can trust!
How important is it to have a good relationship with my supervisor?
This is perhaps one of the most important relationships you will have (after your students, of course). It is important to respect your supervisor, even if you do not necessarily like them. You can learn a lot from them. Remember that anything you say about them (like complaining to a co-worker) will probably get back to them eventually.
How can I maintain a good relationship with parents and guardians?
Again, knowing the culture of the community can help you relate to parents and guardians. Try to use only facts when speaking with them, and try to remember their point of view. As with all other relationships, the most important thing is to establish and maintain expectations and boundaries.
Taking on the role of being an educator, especially a music educator, is exciting! It is a wonderful experience to be able to share your love and passion for music with others. By remaining professional in your career, you can create relationships and experiences that will become very beneficial to you and your students.
For more in-depth information about maintaining professionalism in the education workplace, please watch my webinar in NAfME Academy.
About the author:
Tina Krawcyk is an educator, clinician, composer and arranger. She currently teaches at Dallas Area School District in Dallas, Pennsylvania, where she is the middle school band director, the middle school jazz band director, and assistant director of the marching band. Ms. Krawcyk is also the adjunct professor of Music Appreciation for Penn Foster online career school. Tina received an Associates Degree in Music from Onondaga Community College; a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from West Chester University; a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Marywood University; and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. Ms. Krawcyk teaches clinics on improvisation outside of the jazz ensemble and professionalism in the education workplace. She can be reached through her website www.tinakrawcyk.com.
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