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.
- 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.”
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–
- Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
- Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.
- Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.
- Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.
- Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.
- 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–
- Exclude any student from participation in any program
- Deny benefits to any student
- Grant any advantage to any student
- Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage.
- 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–
- 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.
- Shall not misrepresent his/her professional qualifications.
- Shall not assist any entry into the profession of a person known to be unqualified in respect to character, education, or other relevant attribute.
- Shall not knowingly make a false statement concerning the qualifications of a candidate for a professional position.
- Shall not assist a noneducator in the unauthorized practice of teaching.
- 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.
- Shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about a colleague.
- 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).
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- Foundations of Education. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta Education Department. License: CC BY: Attribution