Friday, June 20, 2008

Professionalism of School Teachers

During the devastating Sichuan earth quake, a school teacher ran out of his classroom without taking care of his pupils. He later openly publicized his actions and his thoughts behind it and became an instant celebrity of sorts in China.

The teacher was later fired from the school and stripped his teaching credentials, which opened yet another can of worms.

On the internet, the teacher had gained more attackers than defenders. Each side has been passionately arguing on his moral and legal stance on the matter.

A couple of days ago, Fang Zhouzi jumped into a foray and pointed out that there was another issue behind the case: the lack of professionalism in China. In a brief essay titled To Be a Teacher One Has to Act Like a Teacher, he said that the teacher's action demonstrated that he did not have the professionalism required for a teacher.

Echoing previous arguments by Rao Yi, Fang Zhouzi said there was no real translation of the word "professionalism" in Chinese. Teachers, just like doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, architects, and accountants, are special professions that demand certain higher moral obligations to the people they serve.

The widespread corruption in many of such professions in China, Fang Zhouz conluded, is rooted in the lack of professionalism.

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