The Labour proposal: a teachers' Hippocratic Oath

The "moral calling and the noble profession of teaching", as the Labour's Tristram Hunt (the shadow education secretary) has called it, should be taken more seriously.
Photo Credit: CentreforCities
A kind of Hippocratic Oath proclaimed by educators, as it happens for doctors, would "provide a sense of moral purpose and virtue to young people".

After his return from Singapore, Mr Hunt has proposed this rite of passage for modern English teachers as a step towards the development of education in the country.
The Republic of Singapore's learning sector is one of the most efficient in the world.
The shadow secretary’s visit was due to the necessity to introduce in England new ideas for further improvements.

Preparing its pathway towards the 2015 Parliamentary election, the Labour party seems to be betting on the school issue as a significant topic.
The Oath that should be taken would be "bolstering the moment of qualification and the meaning of qualification - what it means to become a teacher” said Tristam Hunt.

What does it mean do be a teacher?
This profession involves all the entire person. The teacher has to establish contact with the essence of his/her students.

Academic knowledge of subjects is very important: a degree is a requirement that cannot be removed. Nevertheless, the question is whether nowadays is sufficient, whether it can be considered the unique element necessary for this career.

Young people are facing new challenges. Family problems are no more only quarrels with their parents, but they include also the restriction on budget as well as unemployment, to drugs addiction, mental disability, sexual diseases, bullying, and racism. And the list could well be extended.

Furthermore, adolescents are facing all this troubles in an increasingly early age.
Just to give one example, a recent research, carried out in May 2014 in America , has revealed that nearly half of all teenagers have had sex.
The percentage increases to 71% for those aged 19.

A teacher cannot pretend any more that this situation does not exist for his students or that they do not care about it.
There are different opinions about this matter and it could be an embarrassing topic, but to be a person of education means also to put aside his own prejudices and deal with the problems of the young people, whatever they are.

The model of a professor ex-cathedra is no more useful.
Teenagers sit for many hours at their desks. They spend a great deal of time in the courtyards, in the school buildings, and getting to and from home commuting.
Consequently, the education taught by teachers can well be judged a predominant one. It is not the only one, but the lessons cannot be limited any longer to the textbooks.

Some would probably name this profession a “calling”.

Pointing to the development of the education sector as a priority in their agenda would be a good start for the Labour party.

Many considerations have been written about teaching, its aims and its meaning.
It might be high time to assess whether a teacher can really help to create a better society.
Photo Credit: Duncan Hull