In this essay, I offer provocations toward an ethics of teaching for democracy and social justice. I argue that while driven by compelling macro social and political visions, social justice teachers do not pay sufficient attention to the moral dimensions of micro, classroom-level interactions in their work. I begin by describing social justice education. I then discuss the ways in which social justice educators have talked about issues of ethics in their work in terms of broad political visions, and in response to resistant students and charges of liberal bias. I illustrate gaps in these efforts, particularly in relation to work in teacher ethics. I end with some ethical considerations for activist teachers, framed in three area of virtue and offer examples of a powerful ethical habit related to each virtue.

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