The White Coat Ceremony and Elevating Teaching: A Noble Profession of a Higher Calling


Dear William and Melinda,

Sunday I attended my son’s “White Coat Ceremony” at Tulane University Medical School. For those of you who were as ignorant as I, it is the ceremony first year med-school students go through when they receive their first white coat, signifying their entrance into the practice and profession of medicine.

The following quote taken from the ceremony program with a few subtle changes can refer to the teaching profession as well. We all must remember these words as we fight the survival of the body called education.

“One of the privileges of becoming a member of a profession such as [teaching] is that the body of the profession does not have to rely on outside sources for its regulation.

Just as the human body monitors each of its members, the organ systems, to ensure that they are not sick or injured and are functioning at highest capacity for the good of the body as a whole, so does the body of the [teaching] profession have the honor and responsibility of monitoring each of its members, each student, and each [teacher] to make sure that they are upholding the standards of honor, integrity, truthfulness, and fairness that as associated with the practice and the art of [teaching].”

We don’t need a Common Core or the rigidity of standardized tests to accomplish this.

This honor code is what we as teachers take internally as we enter the profession and as we go to work each and every day to ensure the best for our students, our colleagues, our communities, and our profession, because we are as noble a profession as medicine.

No one should ever forget that. Those in Washington, in state and local capitals, in CEO offices should do more than just use that word profession as lip service to us. They must give us the honor doctors receive and we deserve.

If you have read Paul Starr’s “The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The rise of a sovereign profession and the making of a vast industry”, then perhaps you might understand. Professions like medicine and education are not occupations as in business. They have a higher calling than profit, greed, or even its misguided philanthropy.


Dave Greene, Save Our Schools Treasurer and Apple product user


About Highlighting Members' Needs

We are running for the following Renton Education Association positions because we believe in the following planks: Becca Ritchie, Candidate for REA President, Nelsen Middle School, Computer Tech Susan DuFresne, Candidate for Primary Executive Board, Maplewood Heights Elementary, Integrated Kindergarten ✅  Demanding a healthy work-load/life balance. ✅  Bargaining competitive professional compensation. ✅  Challenging the status quo test culture with: Less is more! ✅  Emphasizing our professional expertise. ✅  Prioritizing equity and access for all. ✅  Utilizing 2-way 21st century communication tools. ✅  Acting in solidarity with all unions. ✅  Supporting ALL members. ✅   Implementing developmentally appropriate K-3 curriculum/assessment.
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