Teachers are expected to teach the content of various ‘subjects’ or disciplines to students. In the upper grades teachers are generally responsible for teaching specific content (math, history, science, languages, English and so on) but in the lower grades teachers are expected to teach across all disciplines and subjects. In either case, teachers must ‘know’ their subject in order to teach it well, to not leave children with mistaken or faulty information about the goings-on of a discipline. To a large extent this falls under the umbrella of ‘responsibility-for-the-other’ that Levinas addresses in his work on the ethics of alterity. It is critical, it seems to me, to take the imperitave of responsibility FOR the other seriously when one teaches–especially when one teaches–for that is where the rubber meets the road. Without this notion of response-ability, this absolute requirement to be responsible for the other, there is no reason for anyone to take the work of teaching seriously.
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