Principled professionalism in the classroom
This chapter has wrestled with some of the issues that teachers can explore in order to make their classrooms enjoyable places to be. Paying attention to the relational aspects of education improves relationships and can moderate behaviour; however, this takes time and the teacher has to take time to learn to really listen to children and develop classroom democracy based on mutual respect and trust (Noddings, 2003). Without this, the performative efforts of teachers are likely to fail or at best be less successful (Watson, Emery & Bayliss, 2012). For some teachers, all of this comes naturally but for others the conditioning through meeting teacher standards when in training and through regular focused observation by management throughout the newly qualified and early career years negates the importance of the intuitive principles of the professional and develops a regime of truth over time allocation, marking, assessment and feedback (Bourke, Lidstone and Ryan, 2013).
The invitation to be politically aware is no longer a polite one. As Adoniou (2015, p. 412) concludes, ‘it is teachers who see the consequences of educational policy initiatives played out in classrooms and if they are not equipped to speak and act on what they see – who will?’