The paper explores the use of professionalism as a defensive strategy aimed to resist Conservative policy. It argues traditional professionalism as well as models based upon the reflective practitioner are inadequate. These models fall back onto a notion of expertise that is less than empowering. The paper argues for the development of a form of professionalism that takes seriously social antagonism and social difference. If this is done teacher expertise will be less secure, more open and offer the potential for the development of democratic relations in and over education.