The teacher as a moral person
The ethical teacher is, by necessity, an ethical person. One who lies and cheats for personal gain or who is callous towards the feelings of others is unlikely to transform into a principled person of integrity upon becoming a teacher. And, the teacher who strives to empathize with students and colleagues, who aims to be fair, careful, trustworthy, responsible, honest, and courageous in the professional role probably understands and appreciates the importance of such virtues in everyday life as well. The moral and ethical principles that teachers themselves uphold in the ways that they interact with students and others and in their approach to their professional responsibilities provide the basis of one aspect of their moral agency.
As a double-pronged state entailing a dual commitment on the part of teachers, moral agency concerns both what teachers hold themselves to ethically and what they seek to impart to students as contributing to their moral education. This chapter focuses on the former, those ethical principles reflected through the teacher's overall demeanour and specific behaviour, whether deliberate or not. This element of moral agency is primarily important on the grounds of a nonconsequential imperative. It is simply that students (and others in the professional teacher's world) have a moral right to be treated fairly, kindly, honestly, and with competence and commitment. Also important is the associated, but more consequential, consideration that students learn lessons about morality through their experiences with teachers. They can sense when teachers genuinely care about them; they can sniff out hypocrisy in a flash; and they are alert to differences between the