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What Kind of Values does Today’s Teachers Must Have? Part 5

little piano playerIt 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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What Kind of Values does Today’s Teacher must have? Part 3

Music therapyIn our last segment, we discussed “honesty” as a value a teacher must have.  “She’s a good teacher and she has that special way of teaching!”

The first element of “honesty” is truthfulness.  Here is where a fact can become a lie.  When you are being wrong, it is not the same as being a liar.   There is a difference between truthfulness and truth.  Webster’s Dictionary states that truthfulness is “being consistent in telling the truth” and truth is being “a statement proven to be or accepted as true.”  Remember, honest mistakes can still make a mark on trust!

A second element of “honesty” is being sincere.  When you are sincere, you do not say half-truths or just stay silent.  You want to leave an impression that is true and not misleading. Webster’s Dictionary states it is “being genuine!”   You want to create a true belief.

A third element is frankness involves trust and honesty.  Sometimes, people need other information to know about you.  “Be calm and frank, and confess at once all that weighs on your heart” (Emily Brontë).  With your honesty and truthfulness, you will feel that you need to share this information.

So when you conduct yourself in honesty, you do not want to violate trust and fairness by taking advantage of others through trickery or cheating.  We do not need to be unethical or dishonest by lying.  Occasionally, dishonesty may be ethically justifiable, such as when the police lie in undercover operations.

Question:  Did you make your best decision with the Gary scenario of Part 2?

Well, what about the Hunt family that has approached your school with a family problem that is disturbing them all.  The father has a great deal of trouble disciplining his 2 children and he has come close to physical abuse on several occasions; however, the whole family insists that he has never crossed the line.  Nonetheless, they are afraid of what may happen if they do not get help.  The family is highly motivated and is reaching out before a serious problem arises.  They have no insurance and there is no cause for dependency in this case.

Due to turnover in your school, your school is overburdened with the extra load of children and there is really no one there who can work with the family.  You as a teacher have gone to your director to discuss this crucial situation because you don’t know what to tell the Hunt family.  Question:  What is the right decision for this situation?

In part 4, we will continue with “integrity.”  We are trying to reach out to make the right decisions like as the last two examples about Gary and the Hunt family.


What Kind of Values does Today’s Teacher must have? Part 2

Teachers Playing Guitar With Pupils Having Music Lesson In ClassroomFrom part 1, we ended up discussing “TRUSTWORTHINESS” and its variety of behavioral qualities.  Let’s add “honesty” as the first quality under trustworthiness.

Webster’s dictionary defines honesty as “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.”  (She is admired for her kindness.)  When it comes to making an ethical decision, honesty becomes a part of the fundamental value.  We associate honesty with people of honor and we admire and trust those who are honest.  Through communicating honesty, we convey the truth as best as we know it and we communicate by not misleading or deceiving.  So when we make a choice out of a situation, we use trustworthiness as one ingredient from inside of us that make us select that situation.  It is part of our value system!

As an example:  Gary, a four-year-old autistic child has been placed in your school.  This child had recently been released from an institution where he has been for two years.  In the last 6 months, Gary’s family had cut off just about all contact with him.  Recently, Gary received a post card from his family telling him they would no longer be able to visit with him because they had moved out of state.  One of the staff found out that Gary’s family had not moved out of the state but to another neighborhood in the same city.  It seems Gary had been missing his family a great deal and asks about them frequently. Most of the staff thinks Gary is stable enough to handle the truth of the situation and they have come to you requesting permission to tell Gary the real situation.

Question:  With your fundamental value of honesty for this child, what is the best decision for Gary?

It seems we need a little more in our value system to help make a right decision.  We will add 3 elements of honesty to our list for Part 3 next week.  Meanwhile, I’ll let you ponder on Gary and when you think about a decision is there more to it than trustworthiness?