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As I sat down to write this paper, I really struggled to get it started with this definition. It is one of those things that if spoken about, you know what it is, but the minute you are asked to break it down, the task is not easy. I guess I will begin by saying that ethics is what is generally accepted as right, or correct. Even though ethics are usually use simultaneously with morals, I think morals are more inherited and personal while ethics are what the majority of people in one culture deem to be ethical.
In a way, ethics are like a set of rules that govern human behaviors and serve as a basis for right conduct principles.
After reviewing the ethical approaches, a few stood out to me as being relevant to my personal beliefs. The first that I recognized was the justice approach for its use of fairness. When I am trying to resolve a problem I always try to weigh the good with the bad as in this approach.
The justice approach ultimately asks the question, “Is this a fair distribution of benefits and burdens?”, which I think is just that. You have to consider how much good or harm will come of your decision. I think that this approach is very important to apply in the classroom. I learned that fair and just does not always mean everyone gets what they want. There are going to be plenty of times when a situation will not have a solution that makes everyone happy, but that is where the justice approach comes into play.
In the classroom, I think it is important for teachers to sometimes take their emotions out of a situation and really see it for what it is instead of thinking who will be mad or upset about a decision. For example, if there are ten students out of a class of 30 that can not complete a project on the day it was due for any reason even though it had been clearly set with time in advance, then according to this approach, the teacher may push the due date further down since all the students would benefit from it and the students grades would be harmed if it was not changed. However, the teacher might offer the students that did the project on time to have extra credit or might just penalize the ten students slightly in order to keep it fair for everyone.
The other approach that sticks out to me was the one relating to virtues. I like to think that I am non judgemental and respect people’s beliefs but when it comes to making my own decisions, I definitely search within my own beliefs to make choices. The virtue approach asks if your decision reflects the person you want to be which or the views of an organization you represent. I try to hold myself up to a high standard of morality and I find this approach matches that concept well.
Every teacher has their own unique style of teaching and their own beliefs, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is actually very important for students to experience different type of people as their teachers so that they can experience how different people can be. When it comes to this virtues approach, I feel like this concept could be hard to implement. Not always, but I believe sometimes teachers have to put aside their own morals to deal with certain situations.
But, on the other hand, I think going by this approach can also be helpful, if a teacher has good morals, they are more likely to make good decisions. An example of this could be in a situation where a student acts out in class but you know it is a result of a negative situation that occurred in their home. In most cases, a teacher might scold that child and not take anything else into consideration, but if a teacher were to search into her/his own virtues and try to work out the situation with the student since they know it is not coming from a malicious place.
There may be much more than just two options offered as a solution in any given situation. For this reason, teachers have the Florida Department of Education Code of Ethics by which we go by. This code of ethics is set up as a way to set a standard. Not everyone has the same set of morals and ethics but by writing this code the department of education they make it clear to all teachers that in order to work as a teacher in the state of Florida, then you must abide by their rules.
The code holds teachers accountable for their actions without any gray areas. It is applied to all teachers in the public school system and affects them directly for that reason. As future teachers, we need to accept that even if we do not always agree with it, we have to abide by the rules in the code of ethics. The guide will dictate how to go about many of the situations we may encounter in our classrooms. Therefore, the Florida Department of Education Code of Ethics is vital to our profession.
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