Ethical Dilemma/Problem Faced in Education Case Study

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Ethical Dilemma/Problem Faced in Education as an Adjunct Instructor

Although a good percentage of my duties occur in an informal setting, as an adjunct instructor, I always recognized I am a professional. Therefore, I had an obligation to respect the ethical considerations of my profession. Nevertheless, in the education field, one is at risk of encountering numerous ethical issues related to competence, respect, confidentiality, conflict of interest and many others. Although not all ethical issues become ethical dilemma, in education context, some of them have the capacity to create potential dilemmas (McMahon, 2007). In addition, instructing or teaching is fraught with numerous ethical dilemmas that require prompt, decision-making, but, interestingly, it is likely that people do make decisions routinely whether they are conscious, or not (Anderson, 2001).

This is because actions are central to values, even though one has not identified their values. Owing to this, an ethical dilemma refers to the choice between two equal alternative solutions to an ethical issue (Geva, 2000). Typically, the adjunct faculty shares in the same values, however, it is possible that at times, even the loyal students will get into a disagreement, especially on decisions concerning the "right" approach to solve a problem. On the other hand, individuals may take part in some unethical acts such as lying, stealing, and forgery. For instance, a faculty member who disregards negative student assessments and considers the positive evaluations, one has taken part in an unethical act.

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In such a case, it is probable that the dilemma occurred earlier when the member tried to evaluate what to submit in an attempt to look better before the tenure and promotion committee. Therefore, the instructor had to make a decision on the ethical approach (providing all the evaluations) or as the provider in their family, dismiss the negative results to preserve a job that provided for their family. In such a case, the instructor felt that preserving the job was the "right," to the expense of being ethical in the given case (Anderson, 2001).

Case Study: Ethical Dilemma

TOPIC: Case Study on Ethical Dilemma/Problem Faced in Education Assignment

As an adjunct instructor, I had fewer privileges, when compared to the other staff in my current college. I was a retired lecturer, but this college required my services, which I was ready to give at a fee. Nevertheless, this was not on a full time basis, it was part time, and I felt it was okay rather than staying at home. Therefore, the management placed in the English department at the college. Owing to the short time I have been there, I felt that the departments were getting on well, but whenever I was alone with one of the faculty members, she was very patronizing and offensive. Interestingly, she was very good at disguising; she was never like this when the other members were present.

I felt that this was unfair, especially when I considered my professionalism in the position, and my positive attitude towards her. She spread malicious rumors about me, I knew but was unable to prove. On the other hand, the management recognizes her as a wonderful and committed professional. I lost some of my instructing notes, missed important faculty meetings because she "forgot" to mention them to me. This case brought much stress and I had feared going to work. To add to the problem, the bullying colleague qualifies for a promotion, which meant that I would have to report directly to her whenever I had a lesson.

Ethical-Decision Making Model

Descriptive task

It is apparent that there was an ethical issue in my case as an education practitioner; however, proving my issue is the task I felt would be impossible. It was because the institution knew my colleague as industrious, and committed. Therefore, approaching the relevant authority in the institution to submit my case was likely to achieve nothing. My colleague was bullying me in the absence of the English department members. It had become serious because I lost some of my instructing materials, which I had taken time to prepare. In addition, I missed meetings out of my colleague's intentional failure to make me aware. I linked my lost instructing materials to the bully, mainly because I felt she did not want me around. It was surprising how she could disguise herself whenever the other department members were around. Therefore, it was hard for anyone to notice her behavior around me. In addition, my continued concealment of the issue contributed to the disguise, but owing to the educational profession, I thought that everyone was supportive of the conduct, and ethics regarding professionalism (Cooper, 2006).

Defining the ethical issue

Apparently, owing to my case, anyone can suggest that my colleague had a problem with me being around the faculty. The fact that I was a retired professional, may have contributed to this and she felt I was better when compared to her. However, as an adjunct instructor, my pay was substantially lower, and I was working part time. Most importantly, I felt she feared that I would achieve better results with the students because we shared a class. Even if this was the case, it was not certain whether the institution could hire me as a profession. Moreover, it was a fact that I was retired, but the issue of better performance weighs as the potential contributor to my colleague's behavior. All this made me confused because I was not sure, which path to pursue in an attempt to end this issue. Perhaps, quitting would be the most appropriate move, but I would also reconsider reporting the issue for appropriate considerations.

Identifying alternative courses of action

Such a situation is confusing, especially when my colleague had qualified for a potential promotion, which would see me report directly to her. This meant that I had to look for other ways to end my issue. Notably, this issue was complex, therefore, it would have been appropriate if I seek advice from other members; some who I felt would be confidential, honest, and trustworthy and would assist by offering working suggestions. I was also faced by the desire to expose my colleague for what she was; meaning that reaching out to the management would have been significant before she took office. Moreover, I would also approach her and tell her off, to see what she was capable of doing (Johnson, 2001), or whether she could open up and provide her reasons towards her bullying behavior.

Probable consequences

In my case, it would be fair if I brought the bullying issue to the attention of the college's management. Nevertheless, this would result to mixed feelings owing to the way the authority perceives my colleague. On the other hand, it would raise eyebrows to the other department members who knew her in other ways. Most importantly, this dilemma was genuine and there was a need for the authority and staff to acknowledge. In addition, confronting her would result to unethical or illegal acts, such as exchange of words, or even fighting. However, reaching for the management to determine the issue (Cooper, 2006), and offer a way forward stands as the potential course of action. This would have less negative consequences in the attempt to solve my issue.


In the education profession, there are numerous potential ethical issues, which may result to unhealthy relationships in the workplace. Ethics is an active process and institutions should have their ethical conducts or standards in place as a guide to professionalism. Moreover, such institutions should embrace the concept of evaluating their professionals to ascertain their level of ethical standards. This is important in an attempt to create healthy relationships, and achieve the objectives of the organization. Most importantly, implementing such as simple model, such as one illustrated above, which relies greatly on Cooper (2006), will help professionals in identifying the most appropriate… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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