Max Weber's Ideas on Characteristics of Professions: Profession of Teaching

Max Weber's Ideas on Characteristics of Professions: Profession of Teaching

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Today we are told we can be anything we can dream up. Although this is true, Max Weber would argue that there are certain characteristics that define a profession. In his eyes the only ideal professions are medicine, law and priesthood. There are eight main points Weber makes each of which I feel can be applied to teaching (Bennet & Le Compte pg. 150).

The first thing on Weber's list is that a profession is self-employed and provides a service to the community (Bennet & Le Compte pg. 150). One way to disagree with this statement is that teachers run off salaries, so they are not self-employed. Joel Spring offers statistics on average white-collar occupations. Per year teachers average $43,250, compare this with an attorney and it may make some cringe as they are making an average of $82,712 a year (Spring pg. 175). Salaries in education follow the natural law of supply and demand. Increasing incoming teaching pay will attract more to the field, but should administration be worried about attracting the new? I think they should focus more on losing the more experienced. They all are deserving of more. Although, I have to say, if it was about the money, most would not choose the teaching profession. It is about the children, which is why I prefer to look at the criteria through the classroom. Teacher's have a lot of freedom to teach as they please and conduct their classes as they see fit within the content standards that is. I have been in many classrooms where teachers use different methods to convey the material; some use PowerPoint, worksheets, quizzes, overheads, while others prefer discussions and essay writing. It is said that teachers make an average of 200 decisions per hour (class notes. October 11, 2004). They do o...

... middle of paper ... Weber was wrong to say that the only ideal professions are medicine, law and priesthood. Teaching should be added to the list, as I am sure many others should also. By looking at the teaching profession through a new sense was interesting because I think it will help me to realize some of the struggles and rewards that go along with the work of a teacher. I wish more people would give teachers the respect they deserve and acknowledge the power they have within the profession.


Bennett & LeCompte (1999). The Way Schools Work. New York: Addison Wesley

Longman, Inc.

Class notes & discussion. October 2004. EDU 110. Dr. Haley.

Spring, J. 2002). American Education. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Teacher Surveys. E-mail. October 20, 2004.

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