It is important for educators to understand the position of trust in which they are held and societal expectations concerning their conduct. Typically, educators who exercise good judgment in their interactions with students, colleagues, and the public do not run afoul of the law or the prescribed standards of conduct. In exercising judgment, you should be mindful of the values set forth in the Code of Professional Practice and Conduct as well as the following considerations.
- do not engage in activities that may reasonably raise concerns as to their propriety;
- do not engage in activities directed towards developing a relationship with a student beyond the recognized boundaries of a teacher/student relationship regardless of the student's age;
- do not make comments of a personal nature or suggestive in tone to a student;
- do not pursue any sexual or romantic contact with or overtures to a student regardless of the student's age or apparent consent;
- do not invite students to your home;
- do not see students in isolated or private situations;
- do not share information of a personal nature about yourself with students;
- do not give personal gifts to a student;
- do not exchange notes, e-mails or other communications with a student of a personal nature;
- do not place yourself in situations which could be construed as posing a risk to the student or facilitating an inappropriate relationship with students;
- refer students to the appropriate resource if they are in need of counseling;
- ensure that your actions always serve the best interests of the student; and
- be mindful of your reputation in the community.
With respect to working with diverse populations of students, it is important that teachers:
- respect students' cultural backgrounds;
- appreciate and accommodate the similarities and differences among students' cultures;
- consider students' language skills and cultural backgrounds when developing lessons;
- do not make assumptions about an individual based on the racial, ethnic, or cultural groups to which he or she appears to belong;
- develop lessons that meet students' individual learning needs; and
- create a safe classroom environment where all students can learn.
- What kinds of classroom practices can be detrimental to students from diverse backgrounds?
- Imagine the type of culture you plan to establish in your future classroom. How could you create a classroom culture that would be respectful of students' individual needs?