This will be the first in a series of posts regarding Morality. Some time ago I read Henry Sedgwick’s The Method of Ethics. I found this to be a quite intriguing read that resulted in numerous reflective moments. I begin in chapter one…
“…moral action is often the Rightuess of the action itself and not any ulterior consequences, and that this is known intuitively in each case or class of cases;” as he continues and frames mans pursuit of morality he “…prefer[s] to consider Ethics as the science or study of what ought to be, so far as this depends upon the voluntary action of individuals.”
This initial distinction reconciles with my personal thoughts in that, morality is the concept and ethics is its application in practice. As a moralist one has a practical aim: they desire knowledge of right conduct in order to act on it. Derived from reflection one can seek unity of principle and work to find a consistency of methods at the risk of uncovering a paradox. Whereas, the dogmatic is apt to hold different principles at once, in a more or less confused combination.
“…hold that men, in so far as they attempt to make their conduct rational, do so, naturally and habitually, upon different principles and by different methods. I admit, of course, as a fundamental postulate of Ethics, that either these methods must be reconciled and harmonized, or all but one of them rejected.” The act of justification is heavy in man’s logic. With each subsequent re-framing of act, to align with ones narrative, portions of reality trickle away from the onslaught of reconciled time.
“At the same time I am not without hope of affording aid towards the construction of such a system; because it seems easier to judge of the conflicting claims of different modes of thought, after an impartial and rigorous investigation of the conclusions to which they logically lead.” As this will aid us as we embark to devise a method of which to apply the ethics of morality.
Part two to follow shortly…
Yet another great YANSS Podcast.
The Topic: Belief
The Guests: Will Storr, Margaret Maitland, and Jim Alcock
This episode brought to you by Squarespace. For a free trial and 10% off enter offer code LESSDUMB at checkout.
And by The Great Courses. Order Behavioral Economics and get 80% off the original price.
Put your right hand on your head. Unless you are near a mirror, you can no longer see your hand, but you know where it is, right? You know what position it is in. You know how far away it is from most of the other things around you. I’m using the word “know,” but that’s just for convenience, because you don’t actually know those things. That is, you can’t be 100 percent certain your hand is on your head. You assume it is, and that’s as good as it…
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As I wondered along bourbon street my peripheral vision caught an edge of a sign. The Old Absinthe House. I was intrigued.
Slithering into a seat in the quintessential dive bar I find myself bellied up to the bar amidst a sea of nare do wells. A weird mix of businessmen and aged rockers seeking the ever elusive green fairy.
I make my selection amidst the noise of street sounds mixed with old jazz and businessman banter.
Pernod Absinthe is best suited to introduce my senses to and overload my taste buds with a harsh black licorice concoction.
I am hooked!
With every sip the sea of noise becomes ever blended as the streets full with more explorers. Wafting scents of stale booze tease my smeller. Sights of over indulged patrons spill their pleasured spirits everywhere as I seek reprieve from the growing stench. I pay no mind and search for more…
Today is a dedication of recording thought. Often I find my mind drifting among philosophical chatter. I try to reflect back on those thoughts and wonder if there is any actual clarity to the presence of narrative as it generates. Also, in my efforts I want to explore any bias that is present that would influence the framing, adoption, or rejection of thoughts as they pertain to the establishment of larger concept adoption.
My plan is to start a thought reflection piece and see if the application of these philosophical thoughts have any true ramifications on my actions within the relationships I have.
As I listen to lectures, read books or listen to material I want to record the thoughts generated from these concepts and track their progression as they pertain to the larger concepts of life.
I invite you to join me in conversation, in addition, in response to, reply to, or to add on to any thoughts shared and lessons learned.
The False Dichotomy Embedded in NC Education Discourse
The fallacy of false dichotomy is committed when the arguer claims that her/his conclusion is one of only two options, when in fact there are other possibilities. The arguer then goes on to show that the only other option is clearly outrageous, and so her/his preferred conclusion must be embraced.
How this works in practice:
EX 1) Either you let your child attend a private charter school, or they will be forced to attend the failing public schools. I know you don’t want your child to attend a failing public school, so you should use the voucher program and let them attend a charter school.
EX 2) Either you want your child to be successful at a private charter school, or you want them to fail in the current public school system. You don’t want your child to fail in life, so you better send them to a private charter school.
We do have another option don’t we?
The educational choice NC has is not limited to only charter schools or failing public education institutions. The reality is that as more money is removed from public education via the charter school voucher program, NC public education will decline further. This decline will further the failed school talking point. Keeping public tax dollars funding public school is essential to dismantling the logical fallacy being perpetrated on NC’s parents.
If provided the chance, how would you reinvigorate public schools in NC?
This post was inspired by the following info graphic.
Link to WRAL video
This past Monday our local media outlet WRAL afforded me the opportunity to share my motivations on leaving the teaching profession. During our conversation, Laura Leslie displayed an honest concern for the plight of educators. The story highlights the disparaging treatment of teachers by the current Governor Pat McCrory. With edits aside, I know all the individuals interviewed for this piece had a lot to share in their discontent of current treatment by the GOP led North Carolina government. The following are some further thoughts on this topic:
All Educators deserve the right to fair compensation and a livable wage as professionals. And by fully recognizing the power of education, policy makers could better address the diverse societal challenges in North Carolina.
I believe that:
1. A Well funded Education system brings significant benefits to society: skilled workforce, greater employment opportunities, income tax contribution, and an improved social status.
2. Education is a profession of lifelong learning. Highly qualified and trained teachers will generate successful student outcomes. Attainment of additional degrees and certifications should be compensated
3. Its not just about “doing more with less.” Teachers are amazing problem solvers so thats not the issue. Teachers are asked to do more and more with less and less and teachers have reached the breaking point
– both parents teachers/admin with 30 and 35 years of experience in Education
– 13 years in the teaching profession with 4 years of teaching experience in Canada
– Master’s Educational Admin
– designed and facilitated 2 magnet elective courses in Physics – Skateboard Science the Physics of Motion and Cosmology
– School based Technology Coordinator
– Presented at NCSTA this past November on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as well as Integrating Technology into the classroom inservice training at the school level
– secured Donors Choose grant for new laptops
– Last teacher evaluation I scored a majority of “Distinguished” level attributes/indicators highlighting a high level of my effectiveness as an educator
– Mon Wed Fri – 14 work hour days at Brain Balance Achievement Centers
– Tue Thurs – stay at school to keep up to date on grading, parent communication, lesson prep, discipline reports etc..
**The second job for many teachers is not a choice, its survival**
– class sizes grew each year, money for classroom supplies fell each year. 30+ is not an environment conducive to providing students the attention they deserve as being a part of a learning community.
– altruism (coaching, arts performances, academic clubs, and all donated time activities) is a part of teaching accepted by all those who teach.
– the reality of being able to provide for ones family carries significant weight when planning for the future. When both time and money are monopolized it leaves very little quality time with ones family.
My position with respect to the NC governments view of education…
A budget that does not include a pay raise, eliminates extra pay for advanced degrees, phases out teacher tenure and cuts funding for teacher assistant positions is not placing the future of North Carolina as a priority. Teachers are; venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and are the ultimate job creators. Teachers deserve to be shown our appreciation with a respectable wage.
In the beginning I was a teacher, I grew to be an educator and now find myself seeking to be respected as a professional. The following represents the motivating factors that influenced my decision to resign my role as a public servant and begin the transition into the private sector.
Oh Education, how I have loved being intertwined with your pedagogy, respected by your admirers, growing with each swing of the initiative paradigms, and experiencing the numerous, exuberant characters that entered my classroom each and every period of each and every single day. Education has provided for me the opportunity to coach sports teams to championships, guide Science Fair participants to record breaking gold medals and placements, mentor youth at risk and aid in their finding a focus and purpose in life.
Parallel to serving the needs of students, Education as a career presented an opportunity to assist fellow educators become more efficient in their respective disciplines through various Professional Development sessions I was able to facilitate; Science Ideas that Motivate, Social Media in the Classroom, Web 2.0 Services for Educators, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). To top this all off lets go ahead and add in a Masters in Educational Administration degree and that my teacher evaluation holds me as a “Distinguished Educator” as measured by the diagnostic tool for my State.
I share all of this with you not to brag, but rather set the context for the remainder of this post so you may know that what is shared from this point forward is not from a jaded, do nothing, leech on the system individual just biding my time until tenure. I am not a teacher who was only in education for the “summers-off”.
Where to begin…?
Wages – I make less now then I did 6 years ago and have not received a raise in that same amount of time. Sorry, one caveat to that as there was a 1% raise that was accompanied by a 2% increase in Social Security deductions. This reflects the statistic that being ranked 46th in teacher pay with the average NC teacher making $10,000 less then their cohorts in other states.
But wait, “teaching is not about the money!” and you’re right IT’S NOT!
Parents – Yes, parents can be stressful at times but when one takes into consideration that a parent’s most important job is to ensure the success of their child, one can appreciate the vigorous approach parents take towards education.
Students – No complaints here about the students. Yes, a few tend to annoy a person, but to complain about this a person would have to be a total jerk. They’re kids; get over yourself. I have had amazing students who provided constant checks and balances of ego, kept me up to date on the lingo/music/movies/dress etc… I will miss our daily interactions and professional dynamic the most.
Colleagues – Those with whom I work on a day to day basis have been some of the most innovative, respectful, caring, dedicated individuals I have ever met and tears will be shed for this loss. If you have a moment give the Lunch Crew a read and you’ll know what I mean.
What, then? What can be left…?
Leadership – Well, we have finally arrived to the heart of this post.
During the past four years the leadership that governed my day to day existence was one of a Leader, not that of a Boss (see above image for clarification). Now, we all have issues or disagreements in one area or another with coworkers and Leaders; there are people few and far between that may agree 100% with our thoughts and pedagogy, and that’s okay; we all should not think the same. I had freedom to create, innovate, expand, and push the limits of creativity in the classroom. Because of this freedom and trust, I was willing to accept those things I didn’t agree with, and any discontent was marginalized through this filter of reciprocity.
If trust in the teachers is removed, innovation will be stifled. If the creative freedoms of educators are actively suppressed, the climate of engagement at a school will drastically change. The preceding examples correspond with a Boss mentality:
Do as I say not as I do. Do it because I said so. I don’t have to explain my actions. Loyalty that is to rise but seldom does it trickle down and pleasantries are feigned only when a specialized skill set service is required and arbitrary decisions of restructuring are implemented.
All of the above qualifications are symptoms rather than the sickness. That which is lacking, the true sickness, is that of a mission, vision, purpose, focus; what is lacking, to bring it all under one concise term, is a Philosophy.
In a profession like education there are two distinct sides to the profession: instructional and administrative. Although in the past I may have vehemently disagreed with my next comment, I have come to see some truth in it. An Administrator is better off having classroom experience. The obvious caveat to this is in respect to those duties that tend to focus solely on the business side of education, those duties being strictly administrative in scope. However; when instruction and the overall vision of the school is at stake having a background in the classroom is essential. It is always quite apparent when a Boss lacks an Educational Philosophy because lacking, too, are viable explanations for decisions perpetrated on their staff.
It is really easy to create an environment where teachers feel undervalued, under-appreciated, underpaid, and under the bus: when teachers are met with over-zealous, over-reaching, overt retributive actions by a Boss. I know; I’ve lived it and seen others around me drown in it as well. A Boss can count for only so long on the philanthropic nature of the classroom teacher until the stark malevolent reality must be addressed.
So what do teachers do in this situation? THEY LEAVE. A teacher may choose to transfer to a new school or they may even leave education altogether. Teachers with any years of experience know that, at heart, there is little deviation between school aged children of similar socio-economic status regardless of City, State, and yes even Country and having taught in another country I know this to be true.
I know what you’re all wondering, and the answer is YES, I too have now left Education after defining myself as an Educator for thirteen years. For me, it is about Leadership. It is about seeing the same traits in administrative Bosses time and time again and realizing that no matter how I could try to shoe horn myself into a Boss role, my philosophy will never match the foot print. Boundaries are self imposed limits to which one can choose to duck under the orange safety ribbon and abound in the pleasantry of freedom and innovation afforded by such an act. Or one could choose not to transcend into an unknown and stay on the beaten path or beaten on the path.
I choose to duck under that ribbon and I cannot wait to see what awaits. How about you?
The following are related articles and content that I just did not have the ability to address in this post. Please take the time to read what these Educators had to say about their experiences:
Simply said: I do for you and you do for me. On the surface one may feel that the only reason why someone would act within the guide of reciprocity is the expectation of return action. Reciprocity goes much deeper than that. Give and take elements govern the majority of our relationships whether or not you may recognize the subtle exchanges that take place. Exchanges can range from; an emotional fulfillment from a caring friend, assisting in moving, sharing responsibilities, assisting in the completion of errands/tasks, intellectual support and the like.
Although many of the exchanges listed may lend themselves in retrospection, to our more personal relationships they are present in our work life. Ever have a coworker ask for your help in completing a task? Reading over their report? Making those last few copies? Covering for them (insert reason here)? Recovering that lost document? These, along with a myriad of examples bouncing around in your thoughts, are reciprocal actions. We help because we know that at some point we are going to need help.
No man is an Isand, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the belltolls; It tolls for thee.
– A famous line from “Meditation XVII,” by the English poet John Donne
If, as individuals, we could handle all that is placed upon us there would never have been ingrained in humanity the division of labor and communal living that has led to our survival as a species. This holds true for the workplace as well. As a community in the workplace we rely on one another’s assistance in both task completion and emotional wellbeing. Harm to either one of these safeties will have far reaching effects. As I discussed in Compliance the repercussions can run deep through an institution where reciprocity is replaced by demand.
So what needs to happen?
Communication before action.
Allocate resources to ensure success.
Always help those who need you.
Don’t act with the sole intention of reciprocal action.
Be nice! oh wait did I mention that?
Set personal agendas aside and do what is best in the situation that will have positive long lasting effects (if you don’t know the best course of action then talk with your cohorts).
Realize that people have sought you out because they think you are capable of helping them. Help them!
Make sure that within whatever role you play that you have afforded those you work with every possible opportunity for success.
Lastly… BE NICE! (I guess we just cannot get away from that one).