Page: 27-55 Author: Mareš, J. Key words: teacher, school, social pressures, critical incident, moral dilemma, moral distress, assessment, intervention
This review study is concerned with the moral dimensions of the teacher’s educational activity. The text focuses on the critical situations at school that are produced by social pressures on the teacher (from the side of superior authorities, the community, the school management, members of the teaching body, parents and so on). Social pressures confront the teachers with a moral dilemma that he or she cannot escape. He or she must decide; either to succumb to the social pressure and take a decision with which he or she does not internally agree or to take a risk, to stand up to the pressure, and follow the voice of moral conscience. The whole account is structured into six parts. The first part summarises research surveys to date on ethical aspects of teachers’ activities abroad and in the Czech Republic. The second part looks at basic concepts, of the type morality, ethics, dilemma. The third part analyses the concept of critical incident, since in many cases this involves an ethical conflict resulting in the moral distress of the teacher. The fourth part characterises a key term in the study - moral distress, and also explains the content of related terms. The author notes that the distress changes over time: he distinguishes between initial moral moral distress and reactive moral distress, which develops only with a certain distance of time. He likewise describes the model of the development of the negative impacts of distress over time, i.e. the growth of moral residues. The fifth part is devoted to a diagnostics of moral distress in teachers, specifically using a qualitative approach. The sixth part indicates possible intervention techniques that might reduce or eliminate moral distress among teachers. The review study points out that research surveys on moral distress in two helping professions that have much in common, i.e. teaching and nursing, have so far been conducted in isolation from each other. In fact the impact of the phenomenon concerned – moral distress – is similar: dissatisfaction with the job and consideration of the possibility of leaving for another workplace or even giving up the profession altogether. Research projects on teachers might find inspiration in research on healthcare workers, and especially nurses, for research on the latter is conceptually and methodologically more advanced.