Michigan Professional Educator's Code of Ethics

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

A Michigan professional educator like you should have knowledge about the Professional Educator's Code of Ethics. This lesson gives you a bit of history of the Code and lists its major components.

An Oath is Part of the History

Amy is an educator in Michigan who got her teaching certificate in 1997. Then, to comply with state requirements, she signed, notarized, and registered an oath in which she promised to work to the best of her abilities. Before 2005, this oath was the only official document about the professional responsibilities educators have in Michigan. Do you think an oath is enough? Do you think it makes sense for other professions to have a Code of Ethics, but not educators? Let's see what happened after 2005.

History of the Code of Ethics

In year 2002, the State Board of Education in Michigan saw the need to go beyond the oath for teachers. They saw this need because society puts a lot of trust in educators, and charges them with the great responsibility of educating children. At the same time, the State Board members decided that education in Michigan would benefit from having a specific goal. This goal is to ensure the professional excellency of educators so that students can succeed academically. As you can see, these are high expectations. For this reason, members of the State Board of Education and the Department of Education created a draft of a Code of Ethics. Then, they sent copies to schools to get their input. Thus, the new Code includes the contribution of thousands of educators in Michigan about what skills and qualities make the best educators. The official Professional Educator's Code of Ethics was presented to educators in January 2005. Since then, all educators in Michigan must adhere to the Code. Let's review its main components.

Components of the Code of Ethics

The official name of the document is Michigan Professional Educator's Code of Ethics. This document involves an assumption of oath and responsibility. This assumption means that teachers no longer need to take a formal oath because all the professional principles that are in the code summarize the oath that, nowadays, is printed on the back side of teaching certificates. For instance, if Amy had been certified as a teacher in Michigan after 2005, the sole act of becoming a certified teacher would imply that Amy adheres to the Code of Ethics and the oath. In other words, Amy would not have had to sign, notarize and register her oath. Now, let's look at the five basic components of the Code.

Five Basic Components

The five components the Michigan Professional Educator's Code of Ethics involves are below.

Service Toward Common Good

The work of teachers is oriented to support the academic success of all students which, in turn, benefits society as a whole. For example, as Amy's students learn and succeed in school, each student becomes a better citizen. This has a positive impact on the community where Amy's students live and, thus, on society in general.

Mutual Respect

As teachers perform their daily duties they must respect each individual's dignity and value. For example, Amy's classes are very harmonious as there is mutual respect between her and her students.


Teachers behave ethically when they provide all students with equal opportunity to succeed. For instance, Amy has several students with learning disabilities in her class, but these students have access to the same school activities as their peers because they deserve an equal chance to learn.


Educators in Michigan are called to accept and respect students from diverse backgrounds. For example, Amy has two French students in her class, three Hispanic students, and one African student. She treats these kids the same way she treats all other students, because their diverse background is no reason to treat them differently.

Truth and Honesty

Educators are truthful and honest when they make reasonable judgement about situations, attain to the law, are reliable and behave in a socially acceptable manner. For instance, the law expects teachers to prepare students for annual tests by providing them with the appropriate content. Thus, Amy works hard to teach Science, Math, and Reading content so her students can perform well in annual tests.

Two Major Principles

We can categorize the Michigan Professional Educator's Code of Ethics into two principles: commitment to the student and commitment to the profession. Let's see how teachers comply with these two major principles.

Commitment to Students

Michigan teachers show commitment to the students when they:

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