Every human has an intrinsic sense of what is right and what is wrong. No matter how one’s background was shaped, there can exists in everyone a tipping point between good and bad, truth and untruth. This truth is the general idea behind ethics or one’s moral principles. Teachers live and breathe these principles day to day, as their main goal
is to ultimately point their pupils to a certain path- one that leads to a higher moral ground. It is because of this delicate duty that educators come to encounter ethical dilemmas everyday. After all, while everyone has a general sense of right and wrong, both major and subtle differences in opinions and beliefs do exist among different people.
The main challenge posed to teachers is to balance their respect for others people’s perspectives while still remaining their role as a moral compass, both personally and professionally. Teachers work with society that has laws—but at the same time, we don’t need to rely on these laws completely because our conscience also tells us what is right and what is wrong. We are guided by many factors, first of which is human nature. Though we have no knowledge of theology, our insight tells us what is right. Ultimately, our professional code of ethics goes back to us- teaching the right thing. It’s all about not shortchanging our pupils and acting fairly and justly, whether it involves our pupils, co-workers, superiors or society itself.
Whatever the subject, educators teach values to their pupils. Problems arise when these pupils are taught different values at home—when they believe something completely different from what you are teaching them. The difficulty for teachers in cases like these is walking the thin line between respecting another person’s viewpoint and judgment and presenting another path that may perhaps, bring about more enlightenment. Young impressionable students benefit largely from teachers who share with them the merits of good values. Forming young minds involves creating a specific distinction between a real value ( what is right ) and what is morally wrong, without causing serious injury to the pupils’ personhood. Demonstrating the difference between the two allows pupils to shape their judgment and viewpoints in the future. Many times, pupils just pick up on things they hear and instantly subscribe to the way of thinking without really understanding it. It is possible for example to tackle the values a family can bring without offending pupils coming from broken families by making use of people children can relate to- movies, television shows, stories and the like can help spot the positive values without necessarily causing any embarrassment.
While tackling ethics may seem overwhelming to most, teachers must learn how to deal with these issues one at a time. Being an ethical person and teacher, comes in what you do and how you live from day to day. Teachers must constantly remind themselves of their promise to be fair, their duty to educate and their responsibility to their pupils to themselves and society.
By: ERLINDA NAVARRO – Bantan Elementary School