Wolfe, Murphy, Phelps, & McGrath Notes The Professional Teacher

Wolfe, P. Murphy, D. S., Phelps, P. H., & McGrath, V. R. (2000). The professional teacher. In B.E. Steffy, M. P. Wolfe, S. H. Pasch, & B. J. Enz, (Eds.), Life cycle of the career Teacher pp. 60-74. California: Kappa Delta Pi and Corwin Press, Inc.

Viewing the Professional Phase Through Case Study

Defining the Professional Phase

·      "Teachers who have entered the professional phase of the career cycle focus on students and the relationships established with them. Thus, the benchmark of the professional teacher is a shift from personal needs to the needs of students (p. 63)."

·      Collegial Connections

o   "Professional teachers are more in tune with students as well as more collegial with peers. With increased confidence, these teachers seek assistance from colleagues and become resources to others (p. 64)."

o   PDS and networks: "These networks commonly extend beyond their own districts. Professional teachers may establish close relationships with teachers at other schools who teach the same grade level or similar subject areas. Connections are often made at conferences (p. 64)."

·      Professional Issues

o   "Moving from an instructional paradigm to a learning paradigm is a distinctive mark of a maturing, caring, and competence teacher (p. 65)."

·      Knowledge and the Professional Phase

o   "As teachers move into the professional phase and feel more sure of themselves, they master certain strategies and demonstrate better command of subject content and instruction (p. 65)."

o   Professionals view themselves as lifelong learners.

o   "Teaching becomes more meaningful and effective. Overall, the teacher feels confident, and his or her instruction becomes a living process (p. 66)."

Threads of Continuity

·      "The education community must find ways to help both types of teachers - those who seek growth and those who are stuck in a sea of frustration (p. 66)."

·      Reflection

o   "Professional teachers recognize the importance of reflective practice and find ways to work it into their daily routines (p. 67)."

o   Withdrawal in the Professional Phase

§  "Teachers in the professional phase enter withdrawal when they have little or no administrative support to renew themselves, whether through changes in their teaching practices or through university courses, travel, writing, and other means (p. 67)."

§  "Additionally, limited support may lead to professional-development activities that do not meet a teacher's individual needs. Such activities might be generic in nature or irrelevant to a teacher's interests (p. 68)." (MY THOUGHTS - the hybrid role is authentic, meaningful professional development).

§  SYP: Boredom is a sign of withdrawal. Professional development activities need to prevent boredom.

§  SYP: "On the other hand, a school climate that encourages risk taking, innovation, and dialogue discourages withdrawal tendencies and increases tolerance for the rich contextual differences among teachers. Positive environments demonstrate value through teacher flexibility (p. 68)."


Professional-Development Strategies

·      "Grounded in cognitive research, constructivists support the notion that learning necessitates a change as new ideas challenge old assumptions (p. 69)."

·      Student Learning and Leadership

o   Focus on student learning

o   PD activities should focus on integration and linking assessments with student learning

·      Professional Competence: Linking Teacher Performance to Student Learning

·      Administrative Action and Professional Teacher Growth

o   SYP Supporting our PD Plan: "Administrators must learn to help professional teachers develop and carry out professional-growth plans; but they must also provide more time (through released time, substitute teachers, and teacher planning time) for teachers to reach their goals (p. 71)."


Recommendations for Research and Practice

·      "Peer coaching and observation is one way to facilitate both the development of a passionate stance as well as collegiality (p. 72)."