Teaching Professionalism

Currently I am teaching as an adjunct professor at John Brown University. I oversee youth ministry internships during their senior year.
One of the challenges is young leaders who are not necessarily prepared to act like professionals. As they are still in college they want to act like college students.
For instance, some students will say things like “welp” or “gosh” or other assorted yet completely unnecessary mannerisms in their papers or e-mails .
Another example is that I currently have a student who seems to almost thrive at leaving formality out of all interactions. I recently got an e-mail from him that didn’t even address me by my name, nor my title. It simply started nonchalantly like we were in the middle of a conversation. On one hand I appreciate his willingness to see me as someone he can communicate with frankly. However there is a fine line that must be distinguished between student and educator, and he is crossing it. It is now my job to clearly communicate that to him.
Why? He needs to be more employable in the future. His easy going mannerism and ability to be off the cuff and interact with students is wonderful. However,it could be a major challenge to get or keep a job because it could limit his ability to sound professional to the adults who are actually paying his check.
At this point I’m considering how I might challenge him to go out of his way to act more professionally. One idea is to require him to reference me as Professor in all written communications. Another idea is to ask him to rewrite certain papers that are not properly reflecting this value.
At a minimum I intend to address this with him and keep it on the front burner until it improves dramatically. My goal is not to discipline him just to prove who’s the boss. The goal is to raise him up as a leader that can knowledgeably interact with students while professionally and adequately communicate with parents with adult volunteers in any church or parachurch ministry that employs him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: