When in doubt, talk to your trusted colleagues and be completely transparent in all situations.
Most teachers come from a place of caring and therefore don’t learn to navigate the risk of ethical dilemmas because they don’t see it coming.
Most of the time complaints that are made about unethical conduct is with regards to general unethical conduct which could mean failure to protect a child, bullying, financial gain, and even improper assignments. Even Text messaging and social media interaction can also sometimes qualify under inappropriate relationships.
It’s important to understand what unethical conduct is and also what behaviors could lead to unethical conduct.
Awareness of Unethical conduct
- Conviction of Crimes, Student abuse, sexual misconduct
- Alcohol and drugs
- Falsification of information
- Misuse of funds or property
- Contractual violations
- General unethical conduct
- Debts to local government
Awareness of behaviors that could lead to unethical conduct
The following list was created by former teachers that had been arrested due to unethical behavior with students. It’s a list they put together of behaviors that may lead to an inappropriate educator/student relationship.
Taking an undue interest in a particular student
- Favoring certain students by giving them a special privilege.
- favoring certain students, inviting them to come to the classroom at non-class times.
- Getting a particular student out of class to visit the teacher during the teacher’s planning period.
- Engaging in peer0like behavior with students.
Using Poor Judgement in Relation to a Particular Student
- Allowing a particular student to get away with inappropriate behavior.
- Being alone with the student behind closed doors at school.
- Giving gifts or money to the student.
- Being overly “touchy” with certain students or touching students for no educational or health reason.
- Giving student rides in the educator’s personal vehicle, especially alone.
- Frequent electronic or phone communication with a particular student.
Becoming involved in the Students’ Private Life
- Talking to the student about the educator’s personal problems.
- Talking to the student about the student’s personal problems to the extent that the adult becomes a confidant of the student when it is not the adult’s job role to do so.
- Initiating or extending contact with students beyond the school day.
- Taking a particular student on outings, especially personal outings.
- Using email, text-messaging, instant messaging, or social networking to discuss personal matters or interests with students.
Not Respecting Normal Boundaries
- Invading the student’s physical privacy
- inviting students to the teacher’s home.
- Visiting the students’ home.
- asking the student to keep certain things secret from this/her parents.
Sexually Related Conduct
- Engaging in sex talk with students (sexual innuendo, sexual banter, or sexual jokes)
- Talking with a student about sexual topics that are not related to a specific curriculum.
- Showing pornography to a student.
- hugging, kissing or other affectionate physical contacts with a student.
When a cultural difference can cause you to question how to react in a given ethical dilemma.
Best tips for handling social media
- If you feel the need to vent, grab a friend and do it privately.
- Don’t post with the intention of sarcasm. It doesn’t come through very well if people don’t know you or your personality and you must assume that anyone can read what you post.
- Before posting ask yourself, would you be comfortable if one of your parents, your principal or your students read this?
- Don’t post pictures or videos of your students unless you have a signed publicity waiver. Just don’t. Even if the parent says it’s okay. A good practice is not to do it without a signed waiver.
My mother used to say, if you don’t want the world to read it, then don’t ever write it down!