On the first chapter of the “Against Common Sense”, Kumashiro identified three teacher images of being in teacher education program: as learned practitioner, as researcher, and as professional. The question of identifying which of the three images covers my education to be a teacher was placed to guide today’s reflection. I believe that my education is a mixture of the three, although it cannot be denied that I may be leaning more to one or two of them.
Teacher as Learned Practitioner was the first image that Kumashiro discussed. Kumashiro outlined that the three main things that becoming teachers must learn are learning about young students, what to teach, and how to learn (Kumashiro, 2008, p.6). For this reason, I consider that the image of being a teacher as a learned practitioner best applies to my education—compare to the two other images. It is significant for us future teachers to understand the effect of the ecosystem to the development and learning of our students. This importance can be seen in our program by having Educational Psychology as one of our major topics in our ECS 200 class. Hence, understanding the effects of the ecological system to the development and learning of our students will allow us to be flexible and customize our teaching approach to fulfill the diverse needs of our students. Moreover, Kumashiro mentioned that we need to learn what to teach. This is the reason why we, as secondary education students, must pick our major/s and minor/s. To elaborate, we pick majors and minors to be able to acquire enough—by reaching the standard qualification, including number of classes and grade point average—knowledge to the extent that we may teach these subjects in our class with expertise and confidence. Ways of teaching and classroom management fall under the third requirement that we needed to learn before starting our teaching career.
Kumashiro categorized the second image of a teacher as researcher. I agree that “…teachers need to continually learn, to be lifelong learners, to themselves be perpetual students of teaching” (Kumashiro, 2008, p.10). To elaborate, I agree in Kumashiro’s statement because this is the reality and I don’t have any problem with that. Constantly learning is essential for teachers because it allows us to also update our knowledge which will be crucial in transporting knowledge to our students. Many are aware that the education system is mostly conservative to maintain the normality or commonality of education provided to students in different generations. However, we are also aware that there have been changes in the knowledge that the education system generates to parallel the chronological advancement that we have. For example, if education did not evolve, then we will still teach under the same beliefs from the past like Ptolemy’s Geocentric Theory. Nevertheless, I do not claim that our knowledge and teachings must be all from the recent learnings because it cannot be denied that we are still guided by theories and knowledge from previous generations. Thus, our program is guided by the past but we must be open to the changes and new knowledge that we can learn and share. As a result, teacher as researcher is the second image that I consider as another major player in my teacher education.
The last image that Kumashiro addressed was teacher as professional. Among the three images, teacher as professional is the least factor that I consider as part of my teacher education program. I agree with Kumashiro’s statement that “[we are] all accredited by some educational entity…to prepare students to teach in public elementary, middle, and/or secondary schools…learning to teach was an entry into profession” (2008, p.13-4). I agree with Kumashiro that we are professionals because we are like other profession who studies and practices four years to get our degree. However, I would disagree to still be considered as full professional. Why? This is because professionals have their own specific standards and requirements on how to calculate and manipulate the desired outcome. For example, doctors are professionals because they practiced to identify a disease and cure it—if possible—or at least minimize the symptoms and side effects. In this way, they are suable for any malpractices that they perform. Likewise, accountants have their own process on calculating the taxes of the citizens. On the other hand, teachers are not like these professionals because we don’t have one specific way to achieve the outcomes we wanted for our students. Also, we do not see our students as clients, cases, or patients because we tend to build relationship with them. Moreover, if we became professionals then we will be suable and that just adds to the complexity of our career. Nonetheless, we, as teachers, must act professionally and present ourselves in some sort of professionalism. By this, I do not mean that we must always wear suits and ties; rather, I encourage us to dress up in a way that will distinct ourselves from the attire of our students—which may also initiate respect in the first place.
Overall, it cannot be denied that these images are also paralleled with problematic notions. These images are not perfect and we can find and/or relate flaws in each of them. However, these images are generalization of the society’s perception towards our career. With this in mind, it is inevitable for us to be shaped by these images as we it is part of our education program. Nonetheless, we must always be aware of the learning that we attain throughout the program and continue critiquing their importance. This is because the knowledge that we perceive will always be partial—we can never learn everything. Even so, we can always do something to alter the outcomes.