A colleague is a person with whom a working professional has an acquaintance with respect to their professional space. They are those people who are explicitly united in a common purpose and respect each other’s abilities to work toward that defined purpose. A colleague can also be an associate in a profession or in an ecclesiastical or civil office. However, in a narrower sense of the word, members of the faculty of a college or university are considered each other’s colleagues.
First used in text in 1515–25, the word colleague comes from the Middle French word ‘collegue’, while some others also claim it came from the Latin word ‘collēga’, col- meaning “with or together” and -lēga, meaning “to choose or gather”. Sociologists of organizations use the term collegiality in a more technical sense, that is, to draw a contrast with the concept of bureaucracy. Classical authors like Max Weber consider collegiality as an organizational device used by autocrats for the prevention of professionals and experts from challenging monocratic arbitrary powers.
For a teacher, a colleague is a fellow teacher or a non-teaching staff working in the same school, university, or college. However, this definition can also extend to members of staff of the institutions the teacher might be teaching in, like tutorial colleges, coaching centers, part-time jobs, etc.
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