This week in ELA, we have started talking about denotation and connotation. At first the students were concerned with understanding these strange new terms, but they quickly caught on to their differences. In fact, they enjoyed participating in a collaborative activity working with positive and negative connotations. As I was playing around with word sets myself, I began to think about the words job and profession. These two words fit perfectly in a lesson about denotation and connotation.
Here is the denotation view; Job-position of regular employment, a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid, Profession-a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. These words are not synonyms, however, they are often used as if they are. These words have positive and negative connotations, job having the negative and profession, having the more positive connotation.
Analyzing these words really got me thinking about what is going on in education and how teachers and their roles are viewed. Viewed, not just by the public, but by teachers themselves. I believe the recent wave of education reforms, the union disputes, and state mandates has clouded the public view of teaching as a profession versus a job. I also believe that these counter pressures have forced teachers into this cloudy perspective as well. Is teaching a position of regular employment, a task or piece of work that one is paid, and requiring pay scales and union protection? Or, is teaching an occupation, involving prolonged continual training, and requiring specific qualifications and evaluation.