Teachers are responsible for the education of our children, so it is critical that all teachers adhere to a professional code of ethics. Many states and several professional organizations have codes of ethics for educators, including the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Association of Educators (AAE), but all of the codes share the basic principles of encouraging learning, personal integrity and mutual respect.
Ethics Involving Students
A teacher has a duty to encourage students to learn to the best of their abilities, and also to teach social values such as respect for self and others, integrity, responsibility, cooperation, loyalty and honesty. Teachers must follow school rules and enforce all rules equally. Teachers must not intentionally disparage students, and must not reveal confidential information about students.
Personal Integrity and Accountability
Teachers must he honest, law-abiding citizens with great personal integrity who strive for the best possible performance as a teacher. A teacher must have all necessary qualifications before accepting a job, and continue professional growth through additional training, certifications or advanced degrees as required by their employers. A teacher must not accept gifts that might appear to influence any professional decisions. A teacher must not violate official school policies at public events, and must make sure to clearly distinguish personal statements from any comments made in a professional capacity representing the school.
Ethics Involving Colleagues
Ethical behavior also applies to colleagues, and teachers do not intentionally make false statements about colleagues or the schools where they work. A teacher must also take care to not reveal any confidential information about colleagues, nor disparage or interfere with a colleague's choice in educational methods.
Responsibilities to Parents and the Community at Large
A teacher must strive to maintain an open, accepting classroom environment where students from all cultural backgrounds will feel comfortable. Teachers also have a responsibility to communicate honestly and openly with the parents of students regardless of the circumstances. A teacher also has a responsibility to be an active participant in extracurricular school activities as well as in the community at large.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.