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Unit 1: Introduction

Teaching As An Ethical Profession

Look at the newspapers or watch the evening news.  A disturbing number of teachers are making poor decisions that undermine their fiduciary responsibilities as teachers and call into question their role as moral exemplars in the community.

In this module, we will examine the teaching profession and the role that ethics play in teachers' behaviors and their decision-making.  We will also discuss pertinent laws and regulations that outline professional expectations and how these relate to a teacher's ethical and legal responsibilities.

From the News

Consider the video story on this page from the Associated Press.   A kindergarten teacher forces a student to eat lunch items that she retrieved from the garbage can.  While some may associate this type of behavior with inexperienced teachers, the teacher in this situation was a seasoned veteran with over 30 years of teaching experience. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Place yourself in the teacher's position.  What factors might have made her actions seem reasonable at the time?  Do these factors influence how you view the situation?
  2. Do you think the teacher's actions were illegal, unprofessional or unethical?  Are these terms synonymous with one another?

Unit 1