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5.1: Ethics

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    Ethics is defined as the discipline of dealing with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation. As students who will be entering the teaching profession in the next few years, it is imperative to understand that there is a code of ethics that you are expected to follow. Teachers are often held to higher standards than other professions, both in their classrooms and in their personal lives. Teachers are expected to be fair to all their students, not impose their personal views and not abuse their powers as educators. We will examine both the New York State and the National Educator’s Association Code of Ethics to get a better understanding of these expectations. These codes of ethics for teachers are designed to protect the rights of all students. The teaching profession requires that individuals be excellent ethical role models.

    As a pre-service teacher it is also important to reflect on your own set of values and beliefs. Consider how you will interact with students, manage classroom behavior and assess students’ progress. This is just a small part of an educator’s duties. The behaviors allowable in your college years may not be acceptable as a new teacher. Everything from the way you dress and speak to how you engage in social media are closely securitized as a teacher. You need to be very conscientious of your appearance, attitudes and behaviors. Teachers are expected to have high ethical standards all the time, both in and out of the classroom.


    • After reading the New York State Code of Ethics for Educators, summarize the six principles.
    • Compare New York State Code of Ethics with NEA Code of Ethics. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences.
    • List your own values and code of ethics in becoming a teacher.
    • Define integrity and explain why it is an essential disposition for teachers.

    Teachers, like other professions, are expected to follow a code of ethics to guide and inform their behavior and decision-making.

    The National Education Association’s preamble for its code of ethics:

    “The Educator, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizes the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, and nurture of the democratic principles. Essential to these goals is the protection of freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal educational opportunity for all. The educator accepts the responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards.”

    NYSED Code of Ethics

    New York State Code of Ethics for Educators

    Statement of Purpose

    The Code of Ethics is a public statement by educators that sets clear expectations and principles to guide practice and inspire professional excellence. Educators believe a commonly held set of principles can assist in the individual exercise of professional judgment. This Code speaks to the core values of the profession. “Educator” as used throughout means all educators serving New York schools in positions requiring a certificate, including classroom teachers, school leaders and pupil personnel service providers.

    Principle 1: Educators nurture the intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and civic potential of each student.

    Educators promote growth in all students through the integration of intellectual, physical, emotional, social and civic learning. They respect the inherent dignity and worth of each individual. Educators help students to value their own identity, learn more about their cultural heritage, and practice social and civic responsibilities. They help students to reflect on their own learning and connect it to their life experience. They engage students in activities that encourage diverse approaches and solutions to issues, while providing a range of ways for students to demonstrate their abilities and learning. They foster the development of students who can analyze, synthesize, evaluate and communicate information effectively.

    Principle 2: Educators create, support, and maintain challenging learning environments for all.

    Educators apply their professional knowledge to promote student learning. They know the curriculum and utilize a range of strategies and assessments to address differences. Educators develop and implement programs based upon a strong understanding of human development and learning theory. They support a challenging learning environment. They advocate for necessary resources to teach to higher levels of learning. They establish and maintain clear standards of behavior and civility. Educators are role models, displaying the habits of mind and work necessary to develop and apply knowledge while simultaneously displaying a curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. They invite students to become active, inquisitive, and discerning individuals who reflect upon and monitor their own learning.

    Principle 3: Educators commit to their own learning in order to develop their practice.

    Educators recognize that professional knowledge and development are the foundations of their practice. They know their subject matter, and they understand how students learn. Educators respect the reciprocal nature of learning between educators and students. They engage in a variety of individual and collaborative learning experiences essential to develop professionally and to promote student learning. They draw on and contribute to various forms of educational research to improve their own practice.

    Principle 4: Educators collaborate with colleagues and other professionals in the interest of student learning.

    Educators encourage and support their colleagues to build and maintain high standards. They participate in decisions regarding curriculum, instruction and assessment designs, and they share responsibility for the governance of schools. They cooperate with community agencies in using resources and building comprehensive services in support of students. Educators respect fellow professionals and believe that all have the right to teach and learn in a professional and supportive environment. They participate in the preparation and induction of new educators and in professional development for all staff.

    Principle 5: Educators collaborate with parents and community, building trust and respecting confidentiality.

    Educators partner with parents and other members of the community to enhance school programs and to promote student learning. They also recognize how cultural and linguistic heritage, gender, family and community shape experience and learning. Educators respect the private nature of the special knowledge they have about students and their families and use that knowledge only in the students’ best interests. They advocate for fair opportunity for all children.

    Principle 6: Educators advance the intellectual and ethical foundation of the learning community.

    Educators recognize the obligations of the trust placed in them. They share the responsibility for understanding what is known, pursuing further knowledge, contributing to the generation of knowledge, and translating knowledge into comprehensible forms. They help students understand that knowledge is often complex and sometimes paradoxical. Educators are confidantes, mentors and advocates for their students’ growth and development. As models for youth and the public, they embody intellectual honesty, diplomacy, tact and fairness. (New York State Education Department, 2017).

    NEA Code of Ethics


    Commitment to the Student

    The educator strives to help each student realize his or her potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

    In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator–

    1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
    2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.
    3. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.
    4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.
    5. Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.
    6. Shall not on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, family, social or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly–
      1. Exclude any student from participation in any program
      2. Deny benefits to any student
      3. Grant any advantage to any student
    7. Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage.
    8. Shall not disclose information about students obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.


    Commitment to the Profession

    The education profession is vested by the public with a trust and responsibility requiring the highest ideals of professional service.

    In the belief that the quality of the services of the education profession directly influences the nation and its citizens, the educator shall exert every effort to raise professional standards, to promote a climate that encourages the exercise of professional judgment, to achieve conditions that attract persons worthy of the trust to careers in education, and to assist in preventing the practice of the profession by unqualified persons.

    In fulfillment of the obligation to the profession, the educator–

    1. Shall not in an application for a professional position deliberately make a false statement or fail to disclose a material fact related to competency and qualifications.
    2. Shall not misrepresent his/her professional qualifications.
    3. Shall not assist any entry into the profession of a person known to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attribute.
    4. Shall not knowingly make a false statement concerning the qualifications of a candidate for a professional position.
    5. Shall not assist a noneducator in the unauthorized practice of teaching.
    6. Shall not disclose information about colleagues obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.
    7. Shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about a colleague.
    8. Shall not accept any gratuity, gift, or favor that might impair or appear to influence professional decisions or action.

    (Adopted by the NEA 1975 Representative Assembly (National Education Association, 1975).

    It is important that you look closely at the expectations this college requires of you while an education major. Professional dispositions associated with you as a pre-service teacher are noted below. Please review these dispositions and reflect on responsibilities you have as an education major. These dispositions are part of the rubric that SUNY Oneonta will evaluate you throughout the program.


    The Division of Education at SUNY Oneonta is committed to preparing educators who not only possess content knowledge but also conduct themselves professionally through the expression of appropriate professional dispositions. As defined by the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), dispositions are the “habits of professional action and moral commitments that underlie the performances play a key role in how teachers do, in fact, act in practice” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011, p. 6).

    Learner & Learning: “To ensure that each student learns new knowledge and skills, teachers must understand that learning and developmental patterns vary among individuals, that learners bring unique individual differences to the learning process, and that learners need supportive and safe learning environments to thrive” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011, p. 8).

    The candidate:

    1. Demonstrates respect for cultural differences and the beliefs of others.
    2. Demonstrates patience and flexibility during the learning process.
    3. Creates a challenging learning environment that demonstrates high expectations for others.
    4. Develops, maintains, and models appropriate relationships within the learning environment, community, and larger diverse society.
    5. Demonstrates student-centered decision-making based on student needs when planning and adjusting instruction.
    6. Demonstrates critical thinking in written & oral form.
    7. Demonstrates use of Evidence-Based Practices.
    8. Demonstrates compliance with New York State Code of Ethics for Educators and SUNY Oneonta academic standards.
    9. Demonstrates initiative and responsibility for own actions: independence, going beyond what is given, seeking after knowledge and professional development, and actively seeking solutions to problems.
    10. Demonstrates professional demeanor and appearance appropriate to the situation.
    11. Fosters respectful communication among all members of the learning community.
    12. Is prepared for class or appointments.
    13. Is punctual for class or appointments.
    14. Demonstrates reflective practice in written or verbal form.

    (SUNY Oneonta Student Teaching Handbook, 2017)

    Contributors and Attributions

    CC licensed content, Original
    • Foundations of Education. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta Education Department. License: CC BY: Attribution

    This page titled 5.1: Ethics is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Tasneem Amatullah, Rosemarie Avanzato, Julia Baxter, Thor Gibbins, Lee Graham, Ann Fradkin-Hayslip, Ray Siegrist, Suzanne Swantak-Furman, Nicole Waid via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.