The Complexity of Care

Steve Collins, Hermia Ting


The profession of teaching is unique because of the extent to which a teacher becomes involved in the lives of their "clients". The level of care required to support students well can be intense, confusing, and overwhelming. Relationships co-evolve within an ever-changing process and care is considered an essential aspect of complex relationships between students and teachers. While we do have many standard guidelines to help us, such as codes of ethics, rules, and policies, this paper examines their limitations. The ethics of care require more than standards or guidelines. To mitigate these limitations, we offer a more complex way of thinking as a way to navigate the dynamic disequilibrium of caring relationships. In the process, we emphasize the need for caring teachers to embrace their own vulnerability. This way of thinking provides us with an ecological ethical approach for engaging in professional relationships that promotes respect, safety, and self-worth for all involved.

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