The final part of “trustworthiness is loyalty! Webster says “it is feeling strong support for someone or something! ” With leadership groups, we are to be a team working together at the same goals! It is the same for our schools and our children! We want to make it our best to have our children ready for society! Loyalty is about promoting and protecting the interests of certain people, children, organizations or affiliations. We see this with — husband-wife, employer-employee, citizen-country – which should create an expectation of loyalty. It is important that we:
- Prioritize Loyalties. We have a loyal school with a director, teacher and teacher aids that work together and because of this, there are many parents and groups that believe in our school and the loyalty claims and sometimes it is often impossible to honor all of them at the same time. Consequently, we must rank our loyalty obligations in some rational fashion. In our personal lives, for example, it’s perfectly reasonable, and ethical, to look out for the interests of our children, parents and spouses even if we have to subordinate our obligations to other children, neighbors, or co-workers in doing so.
- Safeguarding Confidential Information. Loyalty requires us to keep secrets or information learned in confidence. That certainly is a hard thing for us to do. It is like signing the document at the doctor’s office that guarantees the information on that paper not to be shared with others. I remember 2 teachers at a school sharing their thoughts about a problem-child but however they conversed in front of that child. We must be careful how we do things.
- Avoiding Conflicting Interests. We have that additional responsibility to make all professional decisions on merit not personal interests. I know I had my favorites working with children but we are responsible for all the children in the classrooms. We need for the children and parents to trust us.
So we see that “trustworthiness” concerns a variety of behavioral qualities — honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty.
We will continue next time with the second “Core Ethical Value” which is respect!
I wonder how you’ve been doing with your ethical dilemmas? Here is one on Greta:
Greta, a 20-year-old, mildly developmentally disabled female client recently has aged out of the state system. Sam, your employee and Greta’s social worker of 4-years, is considering allowing Greta to rent a spare bedroom in his home. Sam currently has an additional 27-year old male renter who will continue to stay in the home after Greta moves in.
Greta’s foster parents would like her to continue to live with them; however, Greta has expressed a desire to live on her own.
Sam has come to you to discuss the situation. He feels there is nothing wrong with renting Stella the room and he has made comments that suggest that he is willing to help her with some of the difficulties she will face living on her own for the first time (e.g., grocery shopping, banking, budgeting, etc.)
Question: But what is the right decision?
It is amazing to know another part of trustworthiness is “reliability.”
Reliability is when we make promises or commitments to people and even children that our ethical duties can go beyond legal obligations. Have you ever promised a child something but never kept it and later that child still remembers that promise? We certainly want to fulfill that responsibility for that child. The child has ear-marked you as a teacher of reliability and depends on you! This ethical dimension of promise keeping is important to carry out at making all reasonable efforts to fulfill our commitments. It is also important to:
- Avoid bad-faith excuses — be careful not to create justifications for escaping that promise! You are a role model for children and others!
- Avoid unwise commitments — Before making a promise to a child or others, consider carefully whether you are willing and likely to keep it. Think about what may happen in the future for that promise or if it can lead to a difficult and undesirable commitment. Sometimes, all we can do is promise to do our best.
- Avoid unclear commitments — Since others will expect you to live up to what they think you have promised to do, be sure that, when you make a promise, the other person or child understands what you are committing to do.
What happened to Grace or Larry’s situations in part 4?
How would you solve Pete’s Scenario?
Betty is a unit supervisor in a mixed family safety district office. Pete is a family service counselor in this unit and has been with the department for 1 year. In this time, Betty has had many instances where she has not been satisfied with Pete’s performance. Betty has decided that Pete’s lack of professionalism, sloppy work, and negative attitude are putting the Department and client families at risk. She has followed all of the Department’s human resource procedures and is ready to begin proceedings to terminate Pete. When Betty makes her intentions to act known to her immediate supervisor, he tells her he will not support her decision to terminate Pete. His feeling is that a warm body is better than no body in this time of high turnover.
Question: What is the right decision with Betty?
Part 6 is on Loyalty!
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We are continuing our search of how to make the right decisions to the dilemmas not only in our own lives but when we face the dilemmas of today’s children in our schools. We already faced two examples about Gary and the Hunt family. I wonder how you did in solving them? What was your right decisions?
Another quality of trustworthy is integrity. Webster’s dictionary says that it is the quality of being honest and fair like “He’s a man of the highest integrity.” For the child to understand, it is a “the condition of being free from damage or defect
or total honesty and sincerity.” The person of integrity takes time for self-reflection or self-examination so that they stay in control of the things that happen (events), crises of the day and the pressure of circumstances. However, there are things that may get in the way like:
- Self-interest — Things we want. I would like to go on more cruises. I want this website to do well and to hope for more teachers to read this article on values.
- Self-protection — Things we don’t want. I do not want to be disappointed in myself or be angry or let anxiety run me over and cause my behavioral to change.
- Self-deception — A refusal to see a situation clearly. I want to have that clear reasonable decision to help others.
- Self-righteousness — An end-justifies-the-means attitude. I don’t want to be narrowly minded or be convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others.
What would you do about Larry’s scenario?
Larry is the Department of Children and Families representative in your state who inspects and checks the qualification training records of staff. This one particular school Larry knows the director, Grace, quite well. It seems he has a crush on her, too. Other staff members can see the glow on his face, when Grace shows him the areas of the school. When Larry inspects the files, he notices that several staff are not up-to-date with their certifications including Grace. Larry seems to not take it seriously and he overlooks the records and does not mention it to Grace. Of course, Grace knows her records along with the other staff members are not up-to-date.
Question: You saw this happen and you know Grace has discussed to the staff to get those trainings done. What is the right decision for you about Grace or Larry? Does integrity take place in your conscious?
In our next segment, we will look at another quality of trustworthiness: “reliability.”