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Ethics and Responsibilities in the Teaching Profession
Teaching is a noble profession. It is service-oriented. It has the potential to have a great impact in the molding of the next generation. That is why education should be valued by social institutions like government, the church, the family and civil society.
While a great majority of teachers carry with their heads high this noble tradition and even innovate and teach beyond the classroom setting, a teaching profession can also be riddled with corruption. We have heard of teachers who sought material or sexual favor/s from students and parents in exchange for a higher academic rating. Other teachers have lost the fervor to impart knowledge and are simply going through the motions of teaching, for the sake of fulfilling an obligation.
It is in the spirit of holding on to what is noble in the teachers and developing this potential that the Center for Positive Futures held its Teacher Training this June 5-9, 2006 in San Mateo, Rizal. It was attended by 40 teachers from five school locations.
One of the topics discussed was the vision and mission of the Center for Positive Futures, a high school for the economically disadvantaged. The discussion was anchored on the ethics and responsibilities of teachers. A 20-minute video presentation entitled, “Alay sa Mundo” (in English, “Offering to the Earth”) was shown. The video presented the history of the Filipino people as a colonized nation, the strong and positive family values still rooted among its citizens, a presentation of a school as an institution upholding social values, the necessary interaction between school and community in the promotion of social responsibilities, and the urgent need to address social issues in light of destruction of the environment and other gigantic man-made social problems. The video also presented the Charter of Human Responsibilities as one of the three pillars of society, and advocated the need to uphold such responsibilities.
From the video presentation, the teachers divided into five workshop groups to discuss what their own vision and mission as teachers were. The result of the workshop showed that the teachers who are mostly new with no or with just one or two years of teaching experience, and very young, have the capability to look beyond their immediate tasks inside the classroom and frame their profession in the context of social concerns.
One group said that their vision was to be able to promote sustainable development, develop socially-aware and God-fearing students who shall be responsible citizens of society. The members said that they want to promote environmental awareness, they want their students to be involved in community service, to develop cooperation with each other, to develop holistically, to uphold human rights, to develop community leaders among the students, and to give opportunities to the less fortunate to get quality education by means of livelihood education. They also adhere to a student-centered method of education.
Another group envisioned students to develop holistically – academically, morally, physically and spiritually so that they can have a role in society and be responsible individuals, giving gratitude to God. They want students who are less fortunate to have hope and to have opportunities for social mobility. They want to change students in a positive way and that also means that teachers should likewise change for the better. They shall seek to respect, identify and develop students’ talents, recognizing multiple intelligences in the students. They also would like to emphasize the molding of good moral character.
The third group envisioned the development of students who are God-fearing, responsible and just to himself, the community and society. The other concepts they upheld were quality education, no discrimination, responsibility among students, and environmental awareness.
The fourth group presented a visual diagram composed of three concentric circles wherein the student is in the innermost circle, the teacher, parent and workplace is in the middle circle and education is in the outer circle. The student is described as a God-driven and independent learner. The teachers should be comprised of skilled people. The parents/families should fully utilize and develop the skills, talents or abilities of the student.
The last group envisioned the formation of spiritually-guided students who serve humanity through academic excellence. Their mission is anchored on Christian values, imparting socio-cultural traditions and a sense of responsibility, developing productive citizens who help the community, and deepening the academic know-how and technological skills of the students.
After the workshop presentations, Chit Bobis presented the vision and mission of the Center for Positive Futures:
Vision: We envision a community of socially responsible, spiritually guided, self-propelled and technically-adept citizens upholding ecological sustainability, gender-equality, and cultural sensitivity, and enjoying socio-economic benefits from the labor or such a society.
Mission: We are committed to the integral formation of economically disadvantaged youth in urban and rural communities, promoting their rights and responsibilities as individuals, as productive citizens of the community, and as children of God, and encompassing academic, technical, spiritual, cultural and life-skills educational development.
The Teachers’ Code of Ethics as discussed by Dennis Merlin capped the discussion.