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Adult Education PTLLS: Boundaries Between Teaching and Other Roles

Teachers Are Professionals

Teachers are required to maintain appropriate standards and fulfill their responsibilities not just to learners but also to institutions, colleagues, and other professional roles. In order to do that, a teacher should set professional and personal boundaries, which will also set their limits and will identify what their professional role involves.

Setting role boundaries is also useful to define professional duties, limitations, and rights of a professional worker like a teacher. So when you are going to set your boundaries as a teacher you are also defining your duties and everything that your professional role involves. For example, a teacher has the right to contact the learners regarding the course but calling them 10 times would be inappropriate. A teacher can be friendly with the learner but getting overfriendly, too personal, or too emotionally involved in some situations can be deemed inappropriate. In fact, professional behavior for a teacher is essential; a teacher needs to be impartial, fair, and ethical with all learners. A teacher should also consider using caution with self-disclosure: a discrete behavior is required when they disclose personal information. A teacher should also worry about which barriers the learners can face; these barriers could be for example disabilities or attendance. A teacher has the responsibility to help the learners overcome or minimize these barriers and have the best possible result in terms of learning.

However, the teacher cannot always be the right person to help the learners overcome their barriers in learning or in life; there are situations where the teacher just has to ask for help from other authorities. For a teacher, knowing how and when to refer is an important part of setting boundaries between their role and the role of other professionals such as colleagues, superiors, local services, social workers, etc. So, for example, if the teacher suspects that a learner could be a drug addict or can have problems with an alcohol addiction, then the right thing to do is to report this to appropriate local services. If a teacher suspects that a learner can suffer from a situation of abuse at home, then again the right thing to do is to refer to local authorities. It’s very important for a teacher to know what their responsibilities are and how to handle these kinds of situations. In order to do that, a teacher should be aware of who to refer to; that’s why it’s important to have a list of all the local services that could be useful to ask for help with these issues.


pearlicious on November 14, 2018:

Such an interesting article. Great job

allamazingstuff (author) on December 22, 2014:

Thank you so much Pamela :) glad you enjoyed it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 22, 2014:

I agree that boundaries are essential for any good teacher, just as they are important in our lives. I think teachers have to make many difficult decisions these days. Excellent article.