The Gift of Professionalism
Dick Jones, Center Specialist
May 16, 2017
Who doesn't enjoy a gift? Gifts we receive on holidays, birthdays and celebrations are great, but the most enjoyable gifts are those we receive at unexpected times from loved ones. A gift is a genuine act of caring, and it triggers the most positive emotions when we receive the unexpected gift. As it is often said, "It is better to give than to receive." When we offer an unexpected gift, we, the giver experiences even greater pleasure since others appreciate our spontaneous gesture. Unexpected giving brings great satisfaction.
How is professionalism related to the act of giving? Professionalism in education has many dimensions and includes our consistent demonstration of respectful behaviors, respect for our colleagues and continuing efforts to advocate for our profession whether it for our curriculum area, students with special needs or as an administrator.
However, one of the important responsibilities of professionalism is active participation in the professional organization that represents your strand of education. This is where the analogy of giving is important.There are many educational professional organizations directly aligned with what we teach, who we teach, or administrative roles. These professional organizations provide great value to the education community and the future of education as an institution. These professional organizations are a gift to every teacher or administrator in the form of strong advocacy for public support by eloquently describing the unique needs of many students. Also, the professional organizations provide professional learning opportunities to exchange ideas about best practices so that each educator can constantly improve their craft within the profession.
Most professional organizations rely heavily on volunteer leadership. Even if they have full-time staff employed within an organization, they depend on local and regional educators to donate significant time to the profession. Today, the busy demands of our family and sometimes second and third jobs make it often difficult to find time for individuals to volunteer and contribute to the leadership of professional organizations.
Participation in professional organizations should not be considered an obligation. It should be considered an opportunity for a gift. When individual volunteer to take on the responsibility to plan an event, conduct a professional activity or write an article for a journal, it is an act of giving your talents and expertise to others within the profession. Others within our professions receive the benefit from our gift of time and expertise. But, also recognizing the benefit of giving, everyone who actively contributes to professional organization receives the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped others in the profession. By making an effort to give of your time, volunteering and contributing to a professional organization you are giving to the profession, and it can become one of the most satisfying responsibilities within your career of education. Seek out opportunities for you to enjoy the gift of giving to the profession through active participation in professional involvement.
To learn more about the professional associations in Career and Technical Education, check out the page of the website.