Ethics in an Academic Environment sample essay

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Teachers hold the power and responsibility for building the foundations of intellectually and morally great minds. Since people spend a large chunk of their class and their entire formative years in school, their position and contact with young children and adolescents allows they shape and mold what these young people’s potentials and capabilities. Teachers have the opportunity to influence and inspire the future generations. As such, it is imperative that teachers become rightful role models of ethics for their students.

Karl Menninger believed that “What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches” (cited in Hunter, 2006). Menninger’s statement stress that teachers should always be a good ethical example for their students to look up to and learn from. A teacher must show tact, tolerance and morally-charge decision-making; he or she has to refrain from preferring one student over the other and from demonstrating disrespect or irritation for any of his or her students (Hunter, 2006).

In a nutshell, for a teacher to be an ethical one, he or she has to always depict professionalism. Teacher professionalism manifests as both an internal, personal practice and an explicit expression. Professionalism starts from the inside. A teacher needs to make a fundamental commitment to teaching and to all the people that his or her teaching will touch (Phelps, 2003). This commitment is actualized by a teacher’s shown competency in his or her field and his or her capacity for following the teachers’ manual or code of ethics.

It is essential that teachers recognize that their accountability should lie first, foremost and only with the students they teach. Therefore, a teacher shows his or her professionalism in how he or she prepares and plans how he or she could impart knowledge to the students in best way possible. Apart from making sure students understand what he or she is teaching to them now will have a high, enduring quality and will have more than just academic significance to students’ lives.

To motivate and help them give their best effort every single day and to every single student, Phelps (2003) believes that teachers ought to accept and embrace all the challenges and hardships the journey of educating and aiding the youth’s learning may possess. In doing so, teaching is elevated to more than just a job for teachers but a calling. Professionalism requires teachers to invest themselves physically, mentally and emotionally in the process of the student’s education. This act allows teachers to make personal connections with students.

Personal connections, relationships and bonds with one’s students are generally positive and helpful qualities. However, heavy emotional investments can also pave the way for the loss of professionalism, for which personal sentiments were invested in the first place. Emotional investments and personal connections can destroy professionalism and lead to a bending of the credibility of teacher-student ethics when they become the main object of teacher-student relationships instead of one of its reinforcements.

When a teacher forms personal opinions or connections with one or a few particular students, it leads to a closeness or familiarity that can affect a teacher’s ethical conduct and professionalism. Examples would be developing a romantic relationship with a student or creating a hierarchy of student’s value based on a personal favoritism. Apart from creating partialities in favor of a student, personal opinions could further cloud a teacher’s judgment and create bias against a student or certain students.

In both aspects, the founding of personal opinion can seriously hamper a teacher’s potential to be at his or her most professional best. Teachers are therefore reminded to abide by the code of ethics and ensure the protection of the rights of students, each and every single student (University of Iowa [UI], 2008). Teachers are encouraged to build rapport and make students comfortable in their presence enough for the students to liberally and honestly participate and contribute to class discussions.

However, teachers are responsible for ensuring that there is still a professional boundary between them and student to prevent their relationship from getting too casual (UI, 2008). Teachers should instill and model fairness for all students of all racial, ethnical and economic background. Overall, ethics between teachers and students depend on the level of professionalism the teacher has. Teachers’ positions or social roles emphasize respect for one’s profession and the people they encounter. Teachers should direct all of their efforts and prioritize above all how they have contributed to students’ learning and development.


Hunter, D. (2006, Oct. 18). Teacher’s ethics. Articles Base. Retrieved March 13, 2009 from http://www. articlesbase. com/article-marketing-articles/teachers-ethics-64131. html Phelps, P. (2003). Teacher Professionalism. In Find Articles. Retrieved March 13, 2009 from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_qa4009/is_200310/ai_n9335958 University of Iowa. (2008). The importance of teacher ethics. Retrieved March 13, 2009 from http://www. education. uiowa. edu/resources/tep/eportfolio/07e170folder/Ethics. htm

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