Professional Identity and Teachers’ Work

A clear awareness of one’s professional identity is one of the foundations of successful work, regardless of profession. The concept of identity can be viewed from different perspectives; however, the basic issue of professional identity is the definition of what exactly people do as members of a given profession. First of all, this topic covers the images of who professionals see themselves as (Hendrikx, 2018). The concept of self-image is highlighted by some researchers as one of the most critical factors of professional identity, along with job motivation and future perspective (Karaolis & Philippou, 2019). Both the success of the work and the well-being of the professionals themself depend on this. With a significant difference between the ideal and actual self-image, a person’s level of job satisfaction and self-esteem will decrease.

On the other hand, another critical element of professional identity is what people actually do, which forms their daily practice. The fundamental role of the professional in the workplace is crucial and must be in harmony with all other factors – first of all, with the self-image (Hendrikx, 2018). Otherwise, in the presence of a conflict of concepts, the feeling of professional identity and belonging to a particular profession and workplace will be lost.

In teaching, the teacher’s primary model is the image of a person who transfers knowledge to those who do not yet have it. According to general ideas in society, teachers are the custodians of information, and their main task is to transfer this knowledge to the younger generation. In addition, depending on the culture, the role of a mentor is sometimes added to this concept. All these concepts are widespread in society; however, at the moment, they have little to do with reality. Although the official job of teachers is still the transfer of knowledge, a considerable number of elements that are not related to their primary activity are added to their actual role every year.

As practice shows, the source of the problem is the current style of school management, which is similar in many countries. More management elements are being added to schools due to educational reforms (Hendrikx, 2018). Although the reason for this behavior is the desire to improve the quality of education, in fact, this only leads to complications and changes in the educational process. It is filled with a considerable number of standards, bureaucratic subtleties and goals. At the same time, the process of teaching children is exceptionally delicate and requires a primarily individual approach. Each student is a person, and the imposition of clear standards here in many cases is not applicable. However, in the modern world, teachers have to adjust the educational process to meet the required learning outcomes, which, in turn, reflect the effectiveness of their work (Hendrikx, 2018). Thus, they have to take care not to convey new information to the learners but to ensure that they pass through specific standards.

The reason for this is the strengthening of control over the entire educational process; this is why teachers often have to do paperwork instead of teaching. Because these tendencies run counter to the generally accepted role of teachers, many new professionals experience an identity crisis with many negative consequences (Hendrikx, 2018). Therefore, to withstand such conditions of changing concepts, it is necessary to develop in advance the correct self-image as a teacher, which will reflect modern realities. To not face such a problem, I will carefully study the current work regulations and form my working self-image, not limiting myself to traditional concepts. This way, I will be more prepared for the present job. Furthermore, I will be able to change my practices following additional goals, focusing not only on the learning process but also on meeting standards to increase work efficiency.


Hendrikx, W. (2020). What we should do Vs what we do: Teachers’ professional identity in a context of managerial reform. Educational Studies, 46(5), 607-623.

Karaolis, A., & Philippou, G. N. (2019). Teachers’ professional identity. In M.S. Hannula, G. C. Leder, F. Morselli, M. Vollstedt, Q. Zhang (Eds.), Affect and mathematics education (pp. 397-417). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

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ChalkyPapers. "Professional Identity and Teachers' Work." September 6, 2022.