image from Simcoe County District School Board.
I have written about the ethical themes we focus on before for the coming school year. This year, our wonderful leader was inspired by Booker T. Washington's quote on "character" as something the school community will strive to instill in students for the following year.
What is "character"?
Searching Google you find a number of definitions, such as, "good repute" or (my favorite out of the list) "inherent complex of attributes that determines a person's moral and ethical actions and reactions; "education has for its object the formation of character"- Herbert Spencer."
How does an educator teach a student about "character?" What kinds of situations will arise where we have the opportunity to make it a "teaching moment"? I am not quite sure how to make the concept one that is so easily illustrated or explained. My first year, the ethical theme had to do with making the right choice as opposed to the easy one. The second year, the theme focused on understanding limits and being aware of how just because you can does not necessarily mean you should. Both themes seem easy enough to explain in my own head but how do you teach that to students, who are trying to figure out their own way no matter what?
Each year, I do find it challenging to try to make students more aware of their actions and how it affects those around them. At times, I feel a bit hypocritical but as they learn, I re-evaluate and re-learn as well.
I suppose that we just hope that years from now something will click. Something will inspire them to be their better selves.
In closing our meeting today, one of our leaders shared a story about a challenging student, who is now successful and focused and inspiring those around him. I guess, it's stories like these that will help motivate educators to continue to discuss and focus on ethics each school year.