I am now an ethics teacher in our local primary school. I'm teaching the course during scripture time, as an option for those kids who would otherwise be in non-scripture, where, according to policy in NSW, the students are to receive no instruction during the Special Religious Education (SRE) timelot.
Hence ethics. It is way of ending the discrimination against primary school students who don't enrol in the SRE options available at school.
The ethics course doesn't teach atheism. I think you'll find all profesions have an element of teaching profesional ethics. The course is about critical thinking. About creating a community of inquiry in which to explore ideas respectfully, to challenge assumptions and try to work out together what might be right and wrong in given situations. It is an exercise in thinking. The students really enjoy it.
At the moment the course is available for students in Stage 3 (Year 5&6). At our school nearly a third of Stage 3 students are enrolled in ethics. The course for Stage 2 will be available in the middle of the year.
The course is devised and delivered by Primary Ethics. They are looking for more volunteer teachers, to help deliver the course. At our school Stage 2 and Stage 3 have SRE at the same time, so we'll be needing more teachers too.
Primary Ethics offer lots of support. They provide teachers with good training and lesson plans. They have done an amazing job of getting the program off the ground with little money. The volunteers are all committed and wonderful.
The ethics teachers I've spoken to say they find being involved is very satisfying. They learn from the students, and enjoy being involved in the school community.
It takes some time to do the training (a day at home, two days at training), and once you are teaching, it take some preparation time for each lesson, and the lessons run for about 40 minutes, depending on the school. If you can volunteer, click here.