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Code of Ethical Conduct in the Teaching Profession

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Many professions recognize set standards for moral conduct. This lesson will examine the code of ethical conduct in the teaching profession and the importance of adhering to that code. We will provide examples of teachers who follow the code and then end with a brief quiz to test what you have learned.

The Teaching Profession

Think back on the many teachers you have encountered in your life. Maybe they taught you at some point or perhaps they are friends or relatives. Can you think of any common characteristics shared by the teachers you have known?

Most teachers have a genuine affinity for educating young people. Patience is also a trait that most teachers possess. How about moral beliefs such as honesty and integrity? Things such as honesty and integrity may be required by the code of ethics that many professional teaching organizations uphold. Let's take a closer look at the code of ethical conduct in the teaching profession with examples of teachers who follow the code and those who don't.

Code of Ethics in Teaching

Many professions, including teaching, require a professional license. This license grants them a right to practice in the field. Usually licensees agree to adhere to a code of ethics for professional behavior as a requirement for holding a professional license. Organizations like the National Education Association (NEA) and the Association of American Educators (AAE) govern the teaching profession and publish ethical standards for professional conduct.

Conduct with Students

Mrs. Small is a teacher who has clear favorites. She gives some of her students special privileges. Mr. Big, on the other hand, treats all of his students the same way and gives them all equal opportunities. Which teacher do you think is following the code of ethics for teachers?

Teachers are crucial in the successful education of students. Ethical standards require teachers to support student growth, independence, and success in every way possible. This means that teachers must protect students and treat them equally regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, religion, or any other factor.

Teachers provide opportunities for development and nurture personal growth in students. They must also maintain close and supportive ties with students while keeping a professional tone to the relationships. Teachers who do not uphold these ideals may harm students and limit their potential.

Teachers Must Follow Strict Codes of Ethical Conduct When Dealing With Students
student and teacher

Commitment to the Profession

Mrs. Small gets very irritated when she is required to attend meetings outside of class time. She does not fulfill her requirements for Continuing Education and lies about it to renew her license each year. Mr. Big often participates in educational and certification opportunities outside of the classroom. He loves learning new ways to help his students learn. Which teacher is practicing ethical behavior?

The teaching profession is one that requires a unique level of trust in the eyes of the public. After all, many teachers are entrusted with young children and spend a great amount of time with them with very little supervision. Teachers are in powerful positions, wielding a great deal of influence over their students.

These responsibilities require teachers to demonstrate honesty and professionalism at all times and to disclose any personal situations that might negatively impact their ability to teach. Teachers are also required to attend Continuing Education in an effort to keep up with the latest advancements and trends in the field of education. Teachers who do not commit to these ethical and moral standards may tarnish the image of the teaching profession at large.

Conduct with Parents and Communities

Mr. Big plans family and community nights in the classroom to show off the accomplishments of his students. Mrs. Small hates parent teacher conferences and does not volunteer at community events. Which teacher is demonstrating ethical conduct with parents and communities?

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