Slater (2008) stated the following: “Teaching is as much a moral effort as it is an intellectual enterprise.” Is it?
Teaching is as much a moral effort as it is an intellectual one. Although teachers cannot and sometimes do not profess their moral choices in the workplace and in the classroom, they often exhibit characteristics by how they live and operate. A popular motivational speaker noted that people groups and organizations take on the personality of their leader (J. Maxwell, personal communication, summer 1997). When a teacher is leading a group of students in class, building relationships with them as a group, and teaching them on a daily basis, students begin to take on her personality and act in similar ways. These actions are characteristic of an early childhood classroom when young children imitate the teacher and begin saying similar things and acting in similar ways. They want to be the teacher.
The teacher’s values are reflected in her teaching practices by how she conducts herself and how she reacts to classroom situations. If she has a high-energy personality, she will react with more energy than someone who has learned to see the full picture of situations before reacting. A teacher with good values and high morals will likely react at a calmer pace rather than make quick responses. Regardless of a teacher’s values and morals, she must present herself in a professional manner that students can respect and pattern themselves to follow. She is a leader in a professional organization and must put aside strong feelings and be able to present both sides of situations and cases. By teaching equally to both sides, she is teaching and allowing students to think for themselves and make educated decisions based on facts, not feelings or thoughts from others.
I was surprised by the statistic in the article about most teachers being in the 40s age group and the media age of teachers being 46 (Slater, 2008). I would have thought that if teachers graduate from college with a Bachelor’s degree at 22 then the average age would be lower. However, Slater (2008) did state that teacher tenure is about 14 years, so that would land teachers near 40. One major question that comes to my mind about the short teacher tenure is about how colleges are preparing teachers for the field. Are they giving them an adequate picture of teaching requirements and a full view of teacher expectations? Many times beginning teachers enter the classroom with strong goals and ideas but are shut down because of restrictions and guidelines to follow and complete. They feel their creative spirits are stripped away to get through the required standards and testing requirements. Teaching is a creative field, and teachers must demonstrate their creative work by meeting student needs individually (Bramwell, Reilly, Lilly, Kromish, & Chennabathni, 2011). All teachers are creative and must juggle creative needs to meet student needs based on their own values as well as student values. Teacher values show in how they interact with students in dealing with each individual need and situation.
Slater, R. (2008). Education Next. American Teachers: What Values Do They Hold? http://educationnext.org/american-teachers/
Bramwell, G., Reilly, R. C., Lilly, F. R., Kronish, N., & Chennabathni, R. (2011). Creative teachers. Roeper Review, 33(4), 228-238. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/1283786991?accountid=27965