Characteristics of the Ideal Teacher
Unprofessional conduct entails characteristics that vary from the ethical conduct set and contrast the expectations of the profession. It may be in the form of words, behavior and in certain instances the beliefs of the person (Munje, 2018). Teachers are expected to be of good if not exemplary character because students more often seek to emulate them in terms of their words and action. According to the teaching guidelines and teacher-class expectations, Mrs. Pettit had not committed any crime.
This is the main reason as to why her contract was renewed. Her activity in class and interaction with students had been monitored and it was found out that she was a good teacher. As a teacher, she had been able to deliver on all the expected variables and give the students what was expected as per the curriculum. Conversely, the board still terminated her services and revoked her teaching license because she was deemed unfit to be a teacher.
Ethics are moral principles that guide the actions and thought processes of a person; a person’s character is highly determined by their ethical considerations. The ethical conducts of teachers are clearly outlined and are expected to be adhered to in order to achieve an effective education system. One of the main code of ethics is that students matter the most (Munje, 2018). The way in which a teacher and the entire teaching body present themselves to the students should have the characters that they hope the students will emulate.Fairness is key in these characters and the board was fair for dismissing the teacher since she had a record and was no longer a good example to the students.
The ethical considerations of any institution are based on the rule of law; no one is to be held above the law. In the 1960s, it was considered a crime for a person to engage in oral copulation which Mrs. Pettit pled guilty to. The law of the land always determines the ethics of the different organizations and when she broke the law of the land and admitted to it, she became unfit for the teaching profession. What Mrs. Pettit was doing in her personal life had found a way of spilling to the public and not only was it illegal, having such a person as a teacher is setting up the students to believing that it is okay to break the law.
Students are more likely to emulate her especially since such legal proceedings were public and anyone could easily have access to them (Munje, 2018). With such a history and a public record, it would be impossible for Mrs. Pettit to fully achieve the expectations of a teacher and meet the standards that teachers are supposed to set for their students. This is the main reason why the board and the court dismissed her appeals to continue in the profession; it was a way of protecting the younger generation.
Sodomy law, which is a law that forbade oral sex and termed it to be punishable by law, was one of the hardest cases to proof (Asal ; Sommer, 2016). This is because some of these instances would occur in the confine of a person’s house and it is not easy to get access to private homes. The only reason Mrs. Pettit was caught is because she would engage in it with many people and outside her home. If it was a matter of any other law being broken, the committee would have put her on probation for a significant period of time where she would be expected not to engage in such acts. However, given that such acts are not easy to determine their occurrence, probation was not an option, dismissal was deemed as the best.
Sexual promiscuity and immorality in schools is not tolerated especially during the 1960s. Topics surrounding sexuality and sexual acts were only addressed in murmurs. Unlike today, where sex is used to sell even the most basic products, back in the 1960s, sex was not a topic to be addressed to many (Asal & Sommer, 2016). Sexual promiscuity even for consenting adults was viewed as immoral and was not tolerated. This was the culture of the society and with this in mind, the teacher still went on to engage in it with different people and break the law while at it. Such a person was seen as unfit to be in close proximity with children as it may not be clear what else she can be ready to do.
According to Munje, 2018, pedophiles and perverts who prey on younger children are usually people they trust and they never expect it from them. The teacher admitted to being guilty of immoral sexual exploits, the board was being cautious by dismissing the teacher because they were chances she may try to engage with students on such and the parents would have blamed the school for having failed to take the necessary actions to protect the students. The preventive measure was the best option in this case and was ethically justified.
Ethics are aimed at protecting the people, promoting proper coordination and allowing the continuity of the culture. The teacher was dismissed not because she was not fulfilling her teacher-related responsibilities but because her moral and ethical standards were questionable and had been proven to be so in a court of law (Munje, 2018).
The culture at that time viewed oral copulation as immoral and by extension illegal, the dismissal of the teacher was a form of punishment for her immorality while the fine was her punishment for the criminal act. The action was to deter other teachers from engaging in such acts as it would render them out of work while making students understand the intensity of the matter. It also protected the student from what they would have been exposed to had the teacher continued to teach them. This is especially because at times students ask teachers questions unrelated to school work and are bound to heed the advice given.
Finally, teachers are expected to create an environment that fosters learning and positivity (Munje, 2018). This includes having good relationships with the parents and other colleagues. With such a public record that revolved around such a sensitive issue in the society, parents were bound to complain about her and want to take their children out of her class. This would greatly affect the teaching environment in her classes and in the school in general. Ethically, her personal decisions will impact the expectations of the educational institution.