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Is it ethical for a professor to have a son or daughter in a class?
Jan 22, 2016 5:50 PM
Comments · 10

When I first read the topic, I thought it meant is it ethical for a professor to have (meaning give birth to) a son or daughter in class.

January 23, 2016

that's a very good topic for discussion. I think that depends a bit on the course. It will be easier, for example, to be more objective in courses like mathematics. However, aside that, there are some grades relative to the student's performance and how he has improved during the course. Here in Argentina it's called something as 'conceptual grade' which is super subjective and it's pretty popular in elementary school. 

When I was in high school, the English teacher was the mother of one of our classmates. To solve this problem, she asked another teacher to see her son's tests and to give him the grade. 

January 22, 2016

I think it should be avoided if possible, but sometimes it's not possible (one professor for each field is common).

 

If it does happen, I think the institution should be to blame for not having rules about it.

January 22, 2016

I don't think it is a very good idea, and I am not sure if it would be allowed in the NY school system, but I've no idea really, as I have been out of school for decades now.

 

It will lead to the whole 'teacher's pet ' thing, plus it might be uncomfortable, what is the student supposed to call his teacher/parent ?    ' By the way Mom, I have a question on what you've just said ' it would seem silly for him to call her Mrs.

 

Just doesn't seem right to me somehow.

January 23, 2016

There is no ethical problem with teaching your children in a professional setting. I agree it could give rise to stressful situations and accusations of favoritism, but that could happen in any class. There are always students you enjoy teaching more than others, but as long as you provide the same education and opportunities to everyone it is not an ethical problem.


In my opinion, it's no problem in a classroom, the real problem would be in a coprorate situation where nepotism (giving preference to your family over other qualified candidates) actually does occur very often. If I am the CEO of a company deciding to give a promotion to either my own child or to you, that is unethical, only one of you can receive the promotion and you are at an unfair disadvantage. As a teacher, nothing about the education or grade I provide to one student should have any impact on another. There is no reason as a professor I could not give my own child an A that they deserved and give you an A that you had earned also. It is not a zero-sum situation.

As a teacher, I will add that I take steps to prevent myself from grading students unfairly. I do not have a place for students names at the beginning of an exam. They use 8-10 digit student ID numbers instead of their names, and their student ID sheet is the last page of my exams. I have graded, corrected and marked every paper before I know who it belongs to.

January 23, 2016
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