Ethical Dilemma. should I do this as a good teacher?

Ethical Dilemma. should I do this as a good teacher?


During my four years of being a teacher, one question that I frequently ask myself is "should I do this as a good teacher?" I ask this question not to be regarded as a good teacher by my students or colleagues or superiors; I ask this question because as a teacher, I want to make sure that everything I do is worthy of my students' trust. Most of the times I can get the answer easily because many things we do are easily justifiable as being good or not good for students. However, there was once that I could not answer this question to myself.

Every end of semester, I need to give conduct grades to my students for their behaviour in school over the semester. It is a very routine task and we have a few indicators which help us easily identify what grade should be given to a particular student. The indicators include general behaviour, punctuality, attitude and a few others. One ordinary afternoon near the end of a semester, the school counsellor came to me and asked me about the "fair" grade that I gave to a student. "Oh yes, he was late for twelve times this semester absolutely a 'fair' grade." I answered. "But he is on financial assistance which requires him to obtain at least a 'good' grade to continue receiving the money to pay for his school fees!" The counsellor told me. She was right, but whether a student is under financial aid or not should not affect our decision on the conduct grades. I looked at her for a few seconds before she start talking again in a lowered voice:" I suggest that you just go and change it to a 'good'. It will make things much easier and he won't lose the financial aid."

After she left, I took out my file and checked through that student's record again. He was indeed twelve times late for school. Every time he gave the same reason of waking up late. In fact I have spoken to the parents about this issue but the parents woke up even later than him. I gave him an alarm clock and asked him to set two alarms. I had also asked...

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