Talk of teacher “prof essionalization” is much in the air these days-in local efforts to give teachers a greater say in decision making and governance (Clift, Johnson, Holland, & Veal, 1992; Clift, Veal, Holland, Johnson, & McCarthy, 1995; Fullan & Hargreaves, 1996; Wilson & Daviss, 1994), as well as in national calls to raise initial licensure requirements and restructure career opportunities (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), 1989; National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 1999). In common usage, the term “Professional” meanwhile remains as vague as it is reified. “He acted so unprofessionally,” we might say of a backbiting colleague; or, in recounting an instance of top-down management, “It was an affront to my professionalism.” More substantively, what do we mean when we say that teaching is more than a mere job-that it is properly described as a profession? Does “professionalism” rest primarily in autonomy and empowerment, the judgments of outsiders, or perhaps some combination of both? What particular things might “professionalism” mean in the context of English/language-arts teaching? How to describe what literacy educators understand and enact in ways that communicate authority and a clear sense of purpose?