Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It's not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious -- but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.

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Mar 08, 2005

The Structural Unprofessional-ness of Teaching

JONATHAN KALLAY from OverEducation writes in response to my post about a lack of level 5 teachers in our schools:

I’m going to be writing in my blog (http://overeducation.blogspot.com) over the next few days about how all of the problems in education stem from this one fact- which I refer to as the structural unprofessional-ness of teaching- and propose some solutions.

His term "the structural unprofessional-ness of teaching" is a much nicer description of what I judged to be a "muck of honor-less unaccountability" -- that is, the public education system, replete with unions, quotas, state-classifications, tenure, and high-paid administrators.

Jonathan's first post on the subject is a great start.  He describes how progressive charter schools have had little success in disseminating new ideas and better practices back into the traditional public schools.  This breakdown in communication demonstrates the first point of unprofessional-ism:  There is no standard or culture for post-entry training or competition-fueled improvement within the field of school-teaching.

As a programmer, I spend about a quarter of my work-week learning about new technologies and best practices.  I constantly look for small projects which utilize a new technology or technique so that I can improve my skills.  There are even books written to help organize a programmer's time spent improving.  I could not possibly survive in my profession without this effort.

But I hear very little of this type of culture from teachers.  In fact, almost any story that starts with "I just learned about this new approach to teaching..." inevitably ends with "...and now nobody will talk to me in the teacher's break room" or worse, "...and the principal called me into his office then appointed somebody to monitor my class twice a week."

Indeed in order for the profession as a whole to improve, professionals must learn from each other in both a communal and competitive way.  A major goal of the profession must be, simply, to improve -- to write more capable software, save more lives, net more dollars per unit, or earn more of the World's respect.

Thanks Jonathan, I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts about the profession of teaching!

posted at 12:07 AM by Chris Chew in Education | Comments (0)


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