I've heard a lot of talk about teachers as professionals, or at least the desire for teachers to be professionals. I'm not sure many people would disagree that, in an ideal system, teachers would be at least close to on-par with doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.
Teachers are compared to people who work in these professions, as well as nurses, accountants, social workers, etc. somewhat frequently in research -- sometimes this is appropriate and sometimes it's not.
Regardless, here's my question of the day:
What is the most prestigious job in which people are subjected to as many directives from above as teachers?
I'm not sure what the answer is. I'm honestly not sure how much lawyers or accountants have bosses breathing down their necks (and I'm sure it varies widely), so I hesitate to even hazard a guess. It certainly varies widely in teaching, as some teachers shut their door and do their own thing while others have principals and superintendents constantly ordering them around. Ultimately, teachers are supposed to follow the directives of their supervisors (after all, they can be cited for insubordination). The curriculum they must teach might be determined by central office folk (in NYC a few years back seating and bulletin board arrangements were suggested by them as well). They are usually evaluated by supervisors on at least a yearly basis. They're limited as to how they can deal with disruptive students by school and district policy. I could go on, but I won't.
Are teachers treated less like professionals than people in equally or more prestigious jobs? Do people in other jobs have more autonomy or professional latitude than teachers? Does this matter?