Teaching Virtue

As a kindergarten teacher I found this dialogue very interesting. This is something I deal with multiple times a day, as I am sure many of us do. While Socrates’ discusses that there are no teachers of virtue ( 96C). I found it interesting that they were debating who it is that teaches virtue and could not come up with someone. It seem to be they are looking for someone whose job it is to teach this, when why does it have to be one persons job to teach virtue?

Perhaps it is just more understood today that parents are a child's first teacher of being good.  The attributes one has to be good, are nurtured from a very young age. Typically when I have students who are having a difficult time at school, after talking to their parents and getting to know their parents, it helps me understand why their child is having the difficulty. Some students may be only children and not have many experiences with other children. No matter what, problems can arise, so I teach them different ways to solve problems and after some practice they can solve some problems independently and start to make and recognise good choices.

I can also see the families that work on this a lot at home already as these kids already have problem solving strategies and make good choices. While some people may have predispositions to factors that may make it harder to be virtuous (like, addiction) I believe everyone has the capacity to be virtuous.

I believe that while these practices of virtue need to start early in life, before students even come to school… some parents do not. These leaves it to the teacher to instill this at school and hopefully with the help of parents at home. I know in my class, if students are having issues with each other they can’t focus on anything else until it is resolved. The ability to be a good person, kind, caring, mindful of others is my first priority if a student can’t show these behaviours as it will cause many disruptions and decrease my ability to teach the class.


Bethany Pilgrim May 14, 2019, 4:39 PM

I completely agree with you. Unfortunately there are many parents that do not teach those qualities to their children, or simply are not around to do so. Every class is full of diversity and students are all raised in different ways. Thus, there will inevitably be disagreements and behaviours to correct in the classroom. Teachers are often in the position to address those behaviours, which can be tricky at times. I've heard phrases such as "Mom lets me do it" or "No one cares if I do that at home". It can be difficult to find the balance between educating children on appropriate behaviours without seeming to comment on the teaching ability of their parents.

Louis-Marc Robitaille May 14, 2019, 6:13 PM

Hello Lauren, you are right. It is much easier for us as teachers to understand why certain students have difficulty in our class when we get to know them or their parents. Sadly, some kids have quite a difficult life outside of school. It could be related to multiple factors such as eating habits, lack of sleep, mental illness and much more. I believe that these students would benefit a lot from teachers caring in order to improve their grades and their social relationships. Our job does not only involve in teaching a subject anymore. It expands to a broad range of responsibilities.

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