Every lecture needs to be prepared at least one day in advance. It is far more complicated for the teachers to check the homework they give the students than for the students to do it. Each student has to bear his/her own load but the teacher has to bear the load of the whole class. In addition to that, the teacher has to take exams, check the papers and grade them. To top it all, contemporary educational setup is far more complicated than it ever was. There has occurred advancement in syllabus with the emergence of new subjects and research. The class has become more and more multicultural in terms of the ethnic origin of students. Consequently, ethical dilemmas for teachers have both increased in the level of complexity and number. “There is no single code of ethics in pluralistic societies” (Aksoy, 1999). Every day, a teacher gets into so many situations that require him to make a very important decision without the existence of a single code of ethics that he/she can follow. This paper discusses some of many ethical dilemmas that teachers all over the world face. The teachers interviewed shared their experiences and told how they tackled the situations and provide rationale for the choices they made.
1. Intervention in student’s personal life
A teacher faces an ethical dilemma deciding the limits to which he/she can intervene in the personal life of a student (Kristian, 2011). This interview was from Mr. Brown who has been working as a private high school teacher for over ten years. This paragraph summarizes Mr. Brown’s account of the ethical dilemma he encountered in the school. Charles was a very active boy. His participation in the lectures was marvelous. He always did his homework on time. He had the capability to assist other students in understanding intricate concepts. He had wonderful teaching skills. When I had a question for the whole class, he would be the first to volunteer and solve the question for the whole class. One thing that was particular of Charles was that he would never miss the class. He had not been absent for a single day in his three years in the school. Then one day, Charles did not come. The following day, he was absent too. All the teachers and particularly I were very concerned about him. The school principal called him at the home number but nobody attended the call. The third day, Charles came. After the class, I asked him if everything was alright. That was when Charles told me that his step-father had physically abused him. He further told me that he wanted to shift over to his dad’s place, but his mom wouldn’t allow that because his dad had divorced her. I consoled him like I would my own son, but I knew there was not much I could do to pull him out of those problems since I was his teacher. Charles was emotionally close to me and considered me eligible to confide his secrets in. I told him to see me after the class whenever he felt like, and he did start to discuss his home issues with me frequently. I believe that “[e]ffective teachers often draw more openness from their students” (Reid and Stringer, 1997). But gradually I realized that he had become a little too dependent upon me, and would take my pieces of advice seriously. Although I tried my best to give him the most rational advice, yet after all I was a teacher, not a counselor or a psychiatrist. I was worried that if I intervened inappropriately, that could not only put his academic career on stake, but also damage his personality. On one side, I would make him more upset if I refused to see and listen to him. On the other side, I assumed responsibility for any consequences that he might see if he followed my advice, and it led him to the wrong point. “