The lifestyle of a human being is closely bound with ethical values unlike other organisms living on this planet. This highlights the importance of embracing ethics on our day today activities. According to the New Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary ethics is defined as "the moral principles that control or influence a person's behaviour." In other words as mentioned in an article appeared originally in "Issues in ethics" IIE V1 N1 (Fall 1987), ethics is two things. "First ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness or specific virtues. Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards." As a person moulding the younger generation, a teacher has to act as a role model to protect the honour, culture and the discipline of the school while achieving educational goals with success due to sheer dedicated service to the teaching profession. Therefore it is quite obvious that ethics play a major role in the teaching career.
There are several ethical rules to be followed for a good moral conduct. To elaborate more on this topic, I have chosen two standards taken from the teaching of ethics of Graduate School at Penn State. At first, I wish to discuss about fairness or impartiality which is one of the most challenging codes of ethics a teacher can possess. It is extremely important to act neutral while judging the performance of a student because being biased towards some students may hurt and lower the self-esteem of other students. "Fairness: Recognizing the inherent subjectivity involved in grading, instructors ought to ensure that their grading practices are as objective as possible by creating and adhering to unambiguous criteria."(From the teaching ethics of Graduate School at Penn State). An outstanding teacher understands that all students require equal love and attention. A teacher trying to be fair among the students will not even bother to look at the name on the top of the paper when awarding a grade for a student.
Next, let me discuss about showing respect to the others. Respect can be defined as the consideration of self and of others. Teachers and the whole department of academic and non-academic staff work as a team no matter where they come from. Hence being respectful to each other makes a well-oiled team which in turn strengthens the unity of the school. Further, respecting the views and ideas of the learners may help them build their confidence in learning and sharing knowledge. "Respect for Persons: Teachers ought to encourage mutual respect among students. Additionally, instructors ought to show respect and common courtesy for students both during interpersonal interactions and in responding promptly to students' need for guidance and feedback." (From the teaching ethics of Graduate School at Penn State).
Thus it is clear that following ethical rules is a key factor in achieving excellence not only for one's own self but also in the teaching profession as well..
B) As a potential teacher, I see myself as a valuable person capable of delivering a mammoth service to the humankind. My roles include not only teaching but several other aspects as well. Meeting the needs of the learners through effective teaching strategy is my topmost priority. But on several occasions my roles differ from time to time according to the given situation. Sometimes I will have to be a planner with a suitable teaching plan to make the learners understand the lessons better. Sometimes as an assessor ,monitoring and evaluating the students providing appropriate feedback. Next a facilitator supporting and guiding the students to learn on their own, an information provider, conveying knowledge, a resource developer, managing the available resources and a role model capable of influencing a learner's attitudes and behaviours. To compare my roles with two other professionals in my organization, I would like to choose a sports coach and a professional school counsellor in this regard.
A sports coach is a professional who works in the school. He/she is responsible for training athletes while understanding the different skills of each individual separately. These include diet plans, training sessions, physical examinations etc. My role as a teacher shows some similarities with the roles of a sports coach such as being a mentor, adviser, supporter and motivator, dissimilarity being that it is done in a more academical context. Examination of the calorie intake and physical fitness do not necessarily include in my roles as a teacher.
A professional school counsellor is someone who counsels the students with a genuine heart to solve the problems of them, be it academic or personal. A teacher also plays a role as a counsellor looking into the affairs of the students when they confide in them, dissimilarity being that the teacher might not have a professional training on counseling whereas a professional counsellor must have had. Hence a teacher relies on logical analysis and personal experience in solving problems during counselling. In some instance they may require help from others too. It's important to note that although different professionals work together in a school, everyone should understand their professional roles and invest their maximum effort in succeeding them.
C) Teams comprising individuals working together towards a common goal while holding themselves accountable for the team output is known as teamwork. The most valued advantage of teamwork is its efficiency. In team, the work often gets done faster thus saving a lot of time. This is because large tasks are organized into smaller assignments and divided among the team members equally while sorting out the individuals best suited for the job. While working in a team, each individual's unique skills and ideas gets combined effectively and put to usage to produce the desired outcome. These combined skills lead to an increase in creativity. Hence this helps in strengthening the team unity and the team spirit. The team members will also develop a sense of responsibility since they depend on each other for success. Sharing ideas with one another and relying on other's feedback gives a better team output close to perfection.
While responsible team members invest sufficient time and effort, the low productivity of some members due to lack of commitment and dedication is a setback to the whole team. In some instances, this may cause resentment and a rift between the teammates. Hence a better output is not expected. Some members delay their portion of work. This will not help in finishing the task on time. Contrasting personal styles and difficulty in accepting ideas which differ from their own can result in clashes between the team members thus reducing the efficiency of teamwork. To understand team work better, Bruce Tuckman first came up with a theory called 'forming, storming, norming and performing' in 1965. Later, he added a fifth stage called 'adjourning'.
Working individually is completing the given tasks on your own without the help of the others. When working individually, we get to think independently and incorporate our ideas into the task. Hence it develops our hidden potentials. Since there are no intruders, conflicts may not arise. Hence the speed and clarity could be an added advantage. Even the laziest person is put to work here thus giving an opportunity to shoulder responsibilities. The disadvantages of working individually include possible chances of having errors since the task is not checked by the others, no room for variations and a combination of creative thoughts, occurence of some doubts regarding the accuracy of the task and the possible chance of socialization getting hampered.
It's important to understand that some activities in the school like the sports meet, prize giving and shramadana campaigns are best done in teams while maintenance of registers, library book keeping system and lab experiments are best done individually.
D) Interpersonal relationships are social associations or connections between two or more people. In an organization such as the school, basically there are three types of interpersonal relationships. They are: student-teacher, teacher-parent and teacher-teacher relationships. It is vital to maintain a healthy interpersonal relationship with the others. The student-teacher relationship is a very special one. The teacher should be able to understand the learners and help them out. This is only possible if there was a healthy relationship among the students and the teacher. The teacher-teacher relationship is also equally important because the teacher might decide on lesson plans and strategies according to the feedback and the advice given by their colleagues. Further, planning on several occasions which are to be held at school could be done if the teacher-teacher relationship is healthy. To advice and talk about the short commings of a student, a healthy teacher-parent relationship is required. These types of positive interpersonal relationships can further develop the roles of a teacher while magnifying its effects several times.
Sometimes the above mentioned interpersonal relationships end up in conflicts if there was no understanding between the two parties. Due to the uneasiness prevailing among the two parties, the activities meant to be carried out together may not be completed to perfection thus affecting the school as well. The teachers might also not be able to concentrate on their work and may feel restless. This will have a great impact on their professional role. Hence a teacher should be wise and tactful in handling different types of interpersonal relationships so that it may only bring out a positive improvement in their professional role.