Moral Dilemma

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Sitri, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

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    Aug 19, 2009

    You may or may not think this is cute-
    I was volunteering in one of my children's class rooms (second grade). There was a boy, a fairly new student, who, for reasons unknown to me (I think for religious reasons), would stand but not say the pledge or cover his heart. One of the other children said, "he doesn't say the pledge; he's from Colorado."
    I hope this little story didn't offend anyone! I just thought "out of the mouths of babes".
     
  2. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 19, 2009

    If you are bothered by leading the pledge, why not ask for a 'pledge leader'? I'm sure some student will be proud to volunteer for the job.

    And as far as science? The issue of religion often comes into play here as well...think evolution, biology, natural selection- questions arise.

    I hope you are able to 'make peace' with what troubles you, Sitri.
     
  3. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Aug 20, 2009

    Point taken, Alice. I hadn't thought of it that way. Though I must say, personally I get angry at how few students I see don't say the pledge -- not because of religious reasons, or because of moral or political objections, but simply because it's not cool. I can understand not showing respect for your country by saying the pledge for some logical reason, but I don't get the lack of patriotism just because it's not the popular thing to do. I guess I come from a different time. We wouldn't have dared to not say the pledge!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 20, 2009

    Oh, I agree 100%. And, as a Catholic school teacher, I'm fortunate to be in the position where I can insist that they say the Pledge.

    But the OP is in a different place, and I can see his or her point.

    I've worked with too many teachers over the years who were selective about rule enforcement (though, to be honest, I think that most of it was about laziness and not about taking a moral stand.) Every teacher in the building knew who they were, and it made it harder for the rest of us. It doesn't lend itself to a feeling of shared professionalism. And the kids sense blood in the water when teachers are selective about rule enforcement.
     
  5. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Aug 22, 2009

    Where I teach, NJ, there is no moment of silence so this is a new concept to me. If this were to become mandated in our state I could see it causing a big uproar but mostly because it hasn't been done.

    I had a woman do her observation hours in my classroom. She was vegan. We were hatching chickens while she was observing. She told me that if she were in my shoes she just wouldn't do it because it goes against her beliefs. She asked me what would happen if she were to refuse. I told her that quite honestly she probably wouldn't last long because there are many things that come up that don't 100% support your personal beliefs but you need to support the districts decisions. If you can't then you can choose to leave, but you can't change every little thing you disagree with. You can only change how you react to it.
     
  6. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Aug 22, 2009

    There is usually a diplomatic way to deal with things that don't fit your belief system. I am vegan, and in no way would I ever allow animals to be harmed in my classroom. However, it is possible to get the eggs (and return the chicks) from an animal sanctuary, a chicken rescue or some other no kill source. Alternately, I would buy the chicks and then rehome them myself. That way, when one of the kids wants to know what happens to the chickens later, I would not have to lie (since I doubt many teachers are going to tell a small kid who fell in love with a chick that it will be dinner). I also won't spend any of my own money on food that is not vegan or use things like marshmallows or gelatin in science experiments.

    There is usually a way to accomplish these things without creating tidal waves. Actually, I have to work around or with things all the time and I would say most people I know don't know I am vegan. Unless I am around people who like to talk about food or cooking (like on here with all these food threads!), it doesn't generally come up. But when it does, I demand that people act respectfully toward my beliefs as I do towards theirs (I have been veg over 20 yrs--this IS my religion--do no harm and enjoy the cookies). There are always some people who can't leave it alone, like the coworker who always wants to nag at me over "no protein, no calcium, im going to die and yumm isnt this dead chicken tasty?" I've never once said a word to him about anything he eats. When people ask me why I am vegan, I generally say it is for personal reasons.

    Sometimes just changing what goes on in our personal space is enough. The best accommodations are generally the simplest ones.
     
  7. 1stGr8

    1stGr8 Companion

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    Aug 22, 2009

    I agree- I should have mentioned that the chickens to go to my parents farm where they are not eaten or harmed!
     
  8. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Aug 22, 2009

    I'm not sure why a vegan would have a huge issue with that. I know some classes get chicks from places like the Tyson hatchery here in Richmond and then they give the chicks back after. Over my dead body. :eek:
     
  9. fratermus

    fratermus Companion

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    Aug 23, 2009

    " ... It would be better not to discuss these matters too
    scrupulously, especially in front of the crowd." Erasmus, "On
    Free Will." 1524.

    Backwards areas want science teachers for the same reason they want art museums. They want to be able to say they have a museum, but will quickly reject/purge any actual art. It's scary, challenging, and probably unAmerican. What is left is pap, drivel, a canard of the most tired type.

    I might say that during the moment of silence "I was reflecting upon the elegance of [some equation or phenomanon]".
     
  10. History Nut

    History Nut Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2009

    I would simply use the moment of meditation as just that. Those moments are few and far between. I too dislike the addition of "under God" because we are a nation of many religions. It is also not the way it was originally written which is important to me. Even as a member of the DAR, I simply don't say "under God". Not one person has ever noticed.
     
  11. glaciergirl

    glaciergirl Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2009

    I think the moment of silence is just what it implies by its name...a moment of silence. I tell my kids it's the only quiet time of the day we will probably get and to use it wisely as they wish.
     
  12. lsho

    lsho Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2009

    Hmmm.

    I suppose I have never really thought about any of this. I grew up saying the pledge. I come from a small community (within a large metropolis but we are a very tight community) and it wasn't even an option to not say the pledge. It was how we were brought up and so what we did. I see where some may have a problem with it. While I personally am honored to say the pledge, I know some may feel differently. Within my own classroom I have always told students that if they do not wish to say the pledge, they can stand silently. Some do. And I'm ok with that. But we are to respect eachothers beliefs. They stand silently. I don't give them any trouble and neither does anyone else. But in return, they don't attack anyone who says the pledge. I teach Geography so religion comes up but I have said from day one I teach facts. I do not preach a religion when we talk about it. It is only facts and I will not stand for a religious discussion in my classroom. "Save it for college" I say. Why couldn't you just stand silently? As someone else said, appoint a "pledge leader". There is no reason you cannot just stand there. Some students will do the same. It lets everyone deal with it their own way. You stand silently. Some say the pledge. Then you move on with your day!

    I don't have much experience with the moment of silence (though I'd love a second during the day of quiet. Just quiet). When I was in school, we would have one now and then when a classmate or teacher died which happened several times. We had one on 9/11. But it was never a regular thing and it was never given intentional religious undertones. We were taught it was just a sign of respect that you did when someone died. A time to reflect on the life of the person. With or without religion attached to it, I would LOVE a moment of silence everyday. Just a minute where my students have to be quiet and I can save what little sanity I have left. haha.

    Hope you find a way to get past this. Considering all their is to do, I'd find your solution to this problem quickly. It is small compared to many others you will encounter. Like students who don't have shoes to come to school or haven't had breakfast because their parents can't afford it. But hey, that is just my personal view.
     
  13. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Aug 28, 2009

    I am an atheist and have been for about 20 years; I would have absolutely no problem with a moment of silence. I would support it even if there were those who wanted to teach their own kids to pray silently during that time and that was their primary motivation in getting it passed. A moment of silence is a good way to gain focus, and in fact all through school while others would spend the last few minutes frantically looking up information I attributed a lot of my testing success to instead spending some time in silence, quietly reviewing the material in my head.

    I like that there is a pledge, but disagree somewhat to it being an elementary school ritual (I do not think you should be teaching children to recite a pledge until they are more mature). "Under God" in the pledge amounts to bigotry. That's a strong statement, but unfortunately true. Following are two links, a short story, that helped convince me that it is a more important issue than one might suppose at first glance.

    http://restorethepledge.org/Perspective-Fyfe2005.html

    the full story...
    http://www.alonzofyfe.com/full perspective.pdf

    I also object to the motto, but at least that is not something that children are being coerced into reciting.
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 29, 2009

    I remember in high school how nice it was to have a meditation minute in homeroom, where I was surrounded by my friends. I personally did use the time to say a personal prayer to God and I'm glad there was a safe environment where believers and non would allow me to take a moment to prepare myself for the day.

    It was a lot nicer than when the Christian Club would meet before homeroom by the cafeteria and hold hands and pray. We were thrown a lot of insults just because we were praying together. It hurt me a lot, especially for being a teen who was going through depression and body image issues.

    I still have a very strong faith in God and I'm also a science teacher. I teach my students to never believe any answer they are given and we look at our data first to decide if something is true or not. They have asked me about spiritual ideas and I tell them its something to talk about with their parents and science can't always prove or disprove something 100%. I'm glad that I can teach that to them--- always keep seeking the truth, don't just jump to an assumption.

    So while you may be concerned about letting them think of something that you consider supernatural and fake, doesn't mean that you should make all your students believe in that. Each person must prove it to themselves. Your responsibility as a teacher is to give them the skills to know how to prove something and what to look for as proof and that comes through also building a very secure and safe classroom.

    I'm glad that my homeroom was with my science teacher who had a very safe and secure homeroom and classroom--- I could pray there without being told insulting things and share my ideas about science topics during class time. She helped me become inspired to be a science teacher and show respect to people of all faiths and my own faith. I'm very thankful of what she did for me. :)
     
  15. JoshCHT

    JoshCHT Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2009

    I don't see anything wrong with a moment of silence either. Some students may pray while others may think or reflect in a secular way. A moment of silence is rather inclusive.

    Students can still pray in schools if they want to. It is that a teacher cannot lead them in prayer since teachers are government employees (public schools) and cannot endorse a religion. In addition to being unconstitutional if a teacher leads a prayer geared towards a certain religion or denomination then that is not respecting the diverse religious and secular beliefs of their students and their student's parents.

    I understand the op's concern but I think a moment of silence is not a big deal.

    When I was student teaching a year ago, I was very surprised that they began their teacher's meetings with a prayer, some scripture, and a brief sermon (and this was a public school).
     

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