BOEE Nuts & Bolts for Teachers
As a teacher one of the worst things that can happen to you is to have someone file a complaint against you with the Board of Educational Examiners alleging that you have violated the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Educators. For some of you this may never happen. For others it may happen more than once. We hope you will never have a complaint and with that in mind here are a few recommendations on things you can do to keep yourself out of trouble.
- Maintain appropriate relationships and boundaries with students and staff. This includes appropriate physical boundaries (minimal touch), emotional boundaries (you are the teacher, not a counselor, parent or friend), and social media boundaries (stay off social media & texting with students) (Standard I).
- Do not bring or use alcohol or controlled substances on school grounds or to a school sponsored event. This includes bringing alcohol to school as a gift for other staff members - while this may be a nice gesture this is a technical violation. This also includes having a drink before the big game or having a drink at lunch and returning to school. (Standard II).
- Do not falsify or misrepresent information about yourself, your students, or staff. This includes information on a job application, on an IEP, in a gradebook, or relative to a student's test answers and scores. (Standard III).
- If you handle district property or funds make sure you are properly handling and accounting for the property or funds. Do not use for your own personal use, commingle funds with your own funds, or ask for fraudulent reimbursements. (Standard IV).
- Make sure you understand your teaching contract and the terms of your contract. If you know you will not be returning, provide advanced notice and do not sign a new contract with your old district. If you have to resign after signing a contract, make sure to resign before June 30. (Standard V).
- Make sure to treat students, staff, administrators, and parents with respect and refrain from discrimination in any form. This includes respecting varying points of views of students and staff and not pushing your own views. This also includes keeping student information confidential. (Standard VI).
- Pay your legal obligations including taxes, child support, and make sure to comply with other orders. (Standard VII).
- Keep up with your professional development and maintain professional competence by keeping up with minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing educational practices in Iowa. (Standard VIII).
While this is not an exhaustive list of things to do or avoid, it is the nuts and bolts to keep you on the right track. Thank you for the work you do.
If you need legal advice be sure to contact your district attorney or union. If you have any questions about the ethical standards you may contact Nicole Proesch at Nicole.Proesch@iowa.gov or call 515-242-6506.