Being Professional

Professionalism may start with what you wear and how you appear, but it also fully envelopes your persona: how you talk to peers, colleagues, parents, and superiors; what you have on your social media accounts; how you act in the teachers’ lounge; and even how you treat the janitors, school secretary, and volunteers.

Your Attitude
Be courteous to the person scheduling your interview. Write respectful emails to the Human Resources representative. Show your professionalism in how you treat others. Be kind and fully attentive toward those giving you information or interviewing you. Be nice to the school secretary; she’s your friend and can be your advocate if she is positively impressed by you. Smile when you are on the telephone. Keep a folder with all your essential information close at hand for those phone calls. Don’t say, “Oh, I can’t find the résumé I sent you,” or “Did I really apply for that job?”

Always be positive. Always be enthusiastic (but not overly). Always focus on what is best for the students. Be willing to collaborate. Desire to learn new things and new ways of doing things.

As an educator, you will spend considerable amounts of time working in teams. Read “Being an Effective Team Member” to learn how to develop the skills to help your teams be effective.

Your Attire
For an interview, a business suit is the most appropriate apparel. On both men and women, suits look professional and make a positive impression. When you wear professional attire, you imply to the interviewer that you are serious about fitting into the school community. You want interviewers to notice you, not your clothing. See Preparing for the Interview

When attending job fairs and distributing copies of your résumé, it is appropriate to carry either a briefcase or attaché case. Remember to take a pencil or pen and paper to job fairs and interviews for taking notes. Save the tote bag for the classroom.

Social Media
Have a professional email address ( and voicemail message. Beware of what you have posted on Facebook or Instagram, and do a Google search on your own name to see what appears. Pictures of you wearing a bikini and sipping a cocktail on the beach or being scantily clad in a bar can damage your reputation and decrease an administrator’s desire to hire you. If you have posted complaints or rants on websites, even in the comments section, those things can come up on a search of your name. Edit or delete them if you can. If you can’t erase them, post again on that site with a more positive and mature attitude. In extreme cases, a professional can help patch a damaged reputation on the web.

Webcasts for Being Professional
Professionalism? What’s That? Presenting the Best You at All Times Presenter Dr. Joseph Jerles, Associate Professor of Education and former hiring administrator, shares how competence, performance, and conduct combine to enhance your chances of getting the job you want.

Digital Survival for Teachers: Keeping Your Life, Job, and Sanity While Using Social Media Presenter Dr. Eric Combs, 2006 Ohio Teacher of the Year, shares the best and worst practices on social media sites; guidelines for displaying, saving, and forwarding photos, videos, and audio files; the best ways for teachers to use these technologies; how to know which things you post may be permanent and used against you; and best practices for protecting your reputation, career, and loved ones.

Articles for Improved Professionalism
The Three Rs of Professionalism
When teachers commit to three key values, professionalism improves.

Building on the Three Rs of Professionalism
The author discusses six crucial components to successful teaching.

Lounge Lizards!
These facts about the person who is always sitting in the teacher’s lounge and who has much to say about everything can help you manage your next encounter.

The Dr. Is In: Teachers’ Lounge Trauma
YOU can begin to take the atmosphere in the teachers’ lounge from gloomy to blooming. Find out how.