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Responsibility of a Teacher: Developing the Moral Values of Students

Paul grew up on a farm where moral virtues such as hard work and honesty were cherished. Each of his classes has a moral lesson.

My Sixth Grade Students in Thailand

My Sixth Grade Students in Thailand

Being a Good Teacher

Most people think that a teacher's sole responsibility is to impart knowledge in the classroom. Yes, but imparting knowledge or facilitating learning is only one responsibility of teachers. In an age where parents are increasingly shirking their responsibilities in bringing up children, it is also the teacher's responsibility to assist in developing the desirable characteristics or moral values of students.

A Chinese teacher in Taiwan once remarked to me that there are no bad students, only bad teachers. I have thought long and hard about this statement and have concluded that it is true. When children are born, they have no manners and a general sense of what is right and wrong. Good, loving parents will teach a child the difference between right and wrong and develop other desirable characteristics such as good manners and honesty.

But what if parents don't teach their children? Can we say, therefore, that kids are bad because they have no desirable characteristics? No, we can't. It is the responsibility of the teacher to inculcate desirable characteristics into the education of students. If the teacher fails to even try to do this, he or she is a bad teacher.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Teacher?

The characteristics of good teaching include the responsibilities of a teacher. Besides being a source of knowledge and truth and a facilitator of learning, a good teacher works endlessly to foster the desirable characteristics of students. The duties and responsibilities of a teacher are to ensure that all students develop the following desirable characteristics or moral values:

1. Honesty

Honesty and integrity are so very important in life. In the classroom, students must be taught not to cheat on tests, not to copy classmates' homework, and not to tell lies to the teacher and others. A teacher can guide students to be honest by setting a good example in class. The instructor should always be honest in his dealings with the class. A wise teacher will also read and tell his class stories about honesty and dishonesty, and how dishonesty is never really rewarded.

2. Enthusiasm or Avidity for Learning

Every teacher wants his pupils to love school and be eager to learn. Nothing is worse than having an unhappy kid who doesn't want to learn and come into the classroom. In generating enthusiasm or avidity for learning, a teacher must be a good motivator. The teacher can do this by creating a very interesting classroom environment, and by using textbooks and other audiovisual materials which are fun to hear, read, and study. The teacher can also be dynamic in class in his or her relationship with students.

3. Ambition and Hard Work

Thomas Edison once said that genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Anyone who wants to achieve a goal has to set his or her mind to it and work at it. Ambition and hard work must begin in schools and classrooms. Students must not be allowed to be lazy, and they should be required to complete all assignments on time. Pupils should also work up to their abilities. A good teacher will get his students ambitiously to work hard by offering them rewards. These rewards would include comments such as "excellent" or "nicely done" on tests and assignments. They also would include recognition for being number one in the class or getting the highest grade on a test. A teacher can do this by announcing the highest achieving student in class or by posting their names on the classroom bulletin board, for example, as being the student of the month.

4. Curiosity and Asking Questions

Curiosity is a desirable characteristic that is missing from many students. There are just too many pupils who accept everything they hear or read and don't question its veracity. Many students have never learned how to ask questions to find out more about a topic they are studying. A good wise teacher will run a student-centered classroom and teach inductively. A Socratic method should be used to lead students to ask questions to get their answers.

5. Being Responsible

Student responsibility is one of the most important desirable characteristics. Being responsible and held accountable for one's actions is a necessary behavior for all members of society. There is no better place than the classroom to learn to be responsible. Students must be responsible and held accountable for bringing their books and school supplies to class, turning in assignments on time, making up missed assignments, and being punctual in class.

As for all desirable characteristics, the teacher sets a good example by being punctual in class and having all of his lessons prepared. There should be both rewards and punishments for ensuring the responsibility of students. The punishments could include staying after class or doing extra assignments.

6. Etiquette and Manners

Every teacher welcomes a good student who is well-mannered and well-behaved. In Thailand, all students are taught from kindergarten to respect their teachers with a "wai." All students should be polite to their teachers and classmates in school. There should also be no disturbances such as talking out loud in class or students getting out of their seats without the teacher's permission. Once again, teachers set an example by being polite to students and other teachers. If a student's manners are bad, a teacher must take the student aside and rectify the deficiency in his or her manners.

7. Self-Esteem

If a student is going to care about others and display good manners, he or she should have self-esteem. Students must learn to love themselves and take pride in their appearance and clothing. They must feel good about themselves and have self-confidence. Here the teacher can play a big part in developing a student's self-esteem. The teacher can do this by showing concern and love for the student, and by giving the student attention and every opportunity to succeed.

8. Co-operation With Others

Working with others is an essential part of classroom life. In fostering a good learning environment, it is worthwhile for pupils to join in discussion groups and work together on projects. A teacher sets an example by showing kids how to work together on a class project. Students could also observe a teacher working closely with another teacher in team teaching.

9. Being Kind and Helpful

There isn't one teacher who doesn't like a student who is kind and helpful to the teacher and other classmates. Students can exhibit this by doing classroom tasks such as erasing the board for the teacher or helping him or her pass out books and papers. A kind and helpful student will also tutor weaker students in the class. A teacher sets an example by being kind and helpful to his or her students.

10. Being Public-Minded

Public-mindedness is a desirable characteristic for everyone in society. There is no better place than the school to develop this civic responsibility. Students should be expected not to litter, and to volunteer to carry benches and chairs to be set up for a school assembly. Teachers can develop this desirable behavior by setting a good example by not littering and picking up trash in public areas. A good teacher could also show his students films about pollution and global warming and discuss these topics.

In preparing students for roles in society, the development of desirable characteristics or moral values of students cannot be overlooked. If teachers avoid this responsibility, in the future there will be more deviant behavior problems in society.

The author as an English teacher at Saint Joseph Bangna School in Thailand in 2009.

The author as an English teacher at Saint Joseph Bangna School in Thailand in 2009.

Responsibility of Teachers

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn