How to be a successful teacher

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To truly be a successful teacher, one must be a living example of the conceptual framework of the Riley College of Education. There are five elements of this principal framework: the Learner, the Society, the Curriculum, the Teacher, and the Educational Leader. This paper will deal with the Society framework, which states, "The educational leader possesses an understanding of the historical foundations of schooling and exhibits ethical behavior consistent with the laws and policies governing American education." Three of the four themes contained within the Society framework are ethics, history, and philosophy. The knowledge I have gained from Education 110: Teachers and Society is going to aid in my explanation of the importance of these themes to educators.

Ethics is defined as "a branch of philosophy concerned with principles of conduct and determining what is good and evil, right and wrong, in human behavior." This relates to the framework because an educator must have an understanding of the moral, ethical and social ramifications of teaching in a democracy and must use this knowledge in their work. Society has extremely high expectations of educators, many times to the extent of being unrealistic. They must be "above reproach." It is for this reason that educators must constantly question how ethical their actions are. They must be able to decide on just consequences even in situations where they were not present or were not able to obtain all of the pertinent facts involved. The following can be cited as an example: a teacher has a student who comes to class with bruised wrists or black eyes. When the teacher asks about the cause of these contusions the student always has an excuse involving clumsiness. The teacher then faces an ethical dilemma. Should she get involved in what is potentially a child abuse case, or should she just leave the situation alone, since she is not completely aware of the circumstances? Another example can be seen in the current practice of placing increased emphasis placed on improving PACT Scores in South Carolina. A South Carolina teacher would need to cover an expansive amount of information in a short time in order to prepare his or her students for PACT. At the same time, though, he or she is running the risk of leaving those students behind who do not work at the same levels as the other students. This is the dilemma. Should the teacher cover all of the instructed topics regardless of student comprehension or take more time to ensure that all of the students gain a complete understanding of the information?

For assistance, the teacher could look to the extensive history of education to support their decision. It is important to know the history of any idea or subject in order to truly and completely understand it. Educators can use the history of education to shape their teaching practices and to develop new ideas for the future. Effective teachers would know the different shaping factors that have formed the idea of education, as we know it. They would know that Horace Mann was one of their greatest proponents. After becoming the first Secretary of Education for Massachusetts, and subsequently the United States, he was very active in encouraging improvement of the quality in public schools. Many people of his time were concerned with the costs of public schools and did not truly understand how necessary they were. Mann felt the public should be made aware that the public schools were their "cheapest means of self-protection and insurance." By educating the youth of America, the United States was ensuring survival and success as a nation. The educated youths would have the potential for advancing the United States in many ways that the current generation was unable to foresee. With each future generation, the possibilities were endless as to what they could accomplish and achieve. An educator should also be extremely thankful to Mann for originating the professionalization of the...
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