Guidelines for Professional Conduct

These protocols are not described for arbitrary reasons, but for the advancement of professional learning and for your guidance and protection during the period of your preparation for teaching. When you finally become a teacher, you will be bound by a set of clearly stated professional guidelines and a code of ethics (See Nova Scotia Teachers' Union Code of Ethics; attached). Understanding and abiding by the following protocols of the School of Education, which are requirements within the Bachelor of Education Programme, should therefore satisfy two main objectives: the establishment of a professional atmosphere within the School, and the provision of a representative context for professional employment.

A. Guidelines for the Programme as a Whole

At the most general level, all B.Ed. students are expected to follow the regulations outlined at the beginning of the Acadia University Calendar. These regulations cover such matters as academic integrity, discipline, plagiarism, harassment, and proper use of university facilities.

Within the School of Education, a more particular set of regulations exist for the conduct of working relationships between students, faculty, associate and others.

1. It is expected that students and professors will treat each other with courtesy, honesty, and respect both inside and out of the classroom.

2. In cases of disagreement or dispute between a student and a professor, it is expected that the student will, prior to speaking with any other member of faculty, first go to the professor and describe the nature of the problem. If further discussion is necessary, this is to take place between the student, the professor, and the Director of the School of Education, who will work together towards a resolution of the matter.

3. If resolution is not achieved through this process, then the matter may be referred to the Student Review Committee for further consideration.

4. In all cases of dispute or appeal, it is expected that all parties will treat the matter as confidential, and that they will refrain from discussion of the matter with others who are not directly involved.

5. It is expected that students will at all times refrain from making defamatory, disparaging, condescending, or otherwise offensive remarks about others in the School of Education.

6. Punctuality and full class attendance is expected of all students. If students must miss a class for any valid reason (such as personal or family illness), they are expected to inform their professors directly of these circumstances, preferably in advance. It is the responsibility of students to take appropriate steps to ensure that they keep up with all classwork and that they complete all related assignments.

 

B. Guidelines for the Field Experience

Successful completion of all prior coursework is a prerequisite to any field experience. If, for any reason, a student fails to complete a field experience successfully, the student may be required to wait for a period of one calendar year before being reassigned to an associate school.

The field experience, in which student interns work closely with associate teachers, university supervisors, and other professionals, presents a particular set of professional and ethical challenges. The experience involves a complex set of relationships between the public schools, the university, teachers, parents, and children, which requires sensitive professional judgements and behaviors appropriate to a public context. For these reasons, the protocols for the field experience are divided into two sections.

First, there is a set of expectations about students' professional conduct during the field experience which, if not met, may lead to a student’s dismissal from the programme as a whole. These behaviors identify elements of conduct that are essential to the pursuit of a career in professional teaching. They represent types of conduct which might naturally lead to severe reprimand or dismissal within the teaching profession. Second, there is a set of expectations regarding professional competency which, if not met, could result in negative evaluations of a student’s performance or, in extreme cases, to a student’s dismissal from the programme. This second set of expectations recognizes your status as a student of teaching rather than as a fully-qualified professional. These criteria are designed to optimize the learning experience rather than to establish absolute rules for conduct.

 

Set 1. (Expectations regarding Professional Conduct)

Interns are expected to fulfill the following requirements throughout the entire period of their field experiences:

1. Full attendance at the associate school.

2. Honest accountability for absence, or for any other aspect of the student's responsibilities.

3. In the event of unavoidable absence, immediate notification of the absence, together with its reasons, to the associate teacher, the coordinator of student teaching and, if relevant, the student's university supervisor.

4. Strict adherence to the professional code of ethics of the Nova Scotia Teachers' Union (see attached).

5. Disclosure of all relevant background information in application, pre-placement or placement documents and interviews.

6. Demonstration of a sustained level of effort, together with a responsive attitude to constructive criticism and advice.

7. Exhibition of a continuing positive and collegial attitude.

In addition, the following are considered to be unacceptable:

8. Evidence of any severe personal emotional/behavioral problem not identified in the above which is incompatible with the profession of teaching.

9. Any incident or alcohol or illegal substance leading to the student intern’s discredit while in an associate school.

10. Acts of physical or sexual harassment directed to any person.

11. Any sexual relationship with a student in an associate school.

12. Any non-consensual touching of a student in an associate school.

13. Any inappropriate public behavior bringing disrepute to the student intern, or to members of the associate school or of the Acadia School of Education.

 

Set 2. (Professional Competencies)

1. Thorough and effective planning and preparation for all classroom teaching assignments; maintenance of appropriate documentation relating to lesson plans, unit plans, reflection papers, and teaching evaluations.

2. Employment of appropriate classroom management and discipline techniques.

3. Appropriate teaching and presentation skills, together with an ability to establish a positive learning environment.

4. Ability to establish professional, collegial working relationships with associate teachers, faculty, and other educational personnel.

5. Involvement in the life of the school, including meetings, extra-curricular and professional development activities.

6. Adaptability in dealing with diverse student needs, abilities, cultural backgrounds, and sexual orientations.

7. Adherence to professional procedures, including consultation with others, in dealing with difficulties or matters of contention.

8. Developmentally appropriate self-reflection, self-monitoring, growth and learning from the field experience.

 

NOVA SCOTIA TEACHERS UNION CODE OF ETHICS

This Code of Ethics is a guide to teachers in maintaining, at all times, the high traditions of their profession.

Teacher and Pupil

a. The teacher regards as confidential, and does not divulge other than through professional channels, any information of a personal or domestic nature, concerning either parents or home, obtained through the course of the teacher’s professional duties.

b. The teacher should be just and impartial in all relationships with pupils.

c. The teacher should assume responsibility for the safety and welfare of the teacher’s pupils, especially under conditions of emergency.

d. The teacher should avoid giving offence to the religious and political beliefs and moral scruples of the teacher’s pupils and/or their parents.

e. The teacher should be as objective as possible in dealing with the controversial matters arising out of curriculum subjects, whether scientific or political, religious or racial.

Teacher and Teacher

a. The teacher should not make defamatory, disparaging, condescending, embarrassing, or offensive comments concerning another teacher.

b. The teacher shall not make derogatory remarks about the professional competence of another teacher.

c. The teachers shall not accept a position of another teacher who has been dismissed unjustly, nor accept a position arising out of thee unsettled dispute between a teacher or teachers and local authorities.

d. The teacher shall not sexually harass another teacher. Sexual harassment shall mean any unsolicited and unwanted sexual comments, suggestions, physical contact directed to a specific teacher which that teacher finds objectionable or offensive and which causes the teacher discomfort on the job. The accused teacher must be made aware of the nature of the objection prior to action being taken.

Teacher and Internal Administration

a. The teacher shall observe a reasonable and proper loyalty to internal administration of the school.

b. The teacher responsible for internal administration should be loyal, fair, and just to the members of the staff.

c. The teacher responsible for internal administration should not of her/his own initiative, make any detrimental report, oral or written, on a teacher’s efficiency without first discussing the matter with the teacher.

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