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What Kind of Values does Today’s Teachers Must Have? Part 6

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?


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?