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THE ETHICS OF TEACHER EMPLOYMENT

The general procedures the prospective teacher should follow in securing employment is of importance. There are, however, certain ethical principles and standards which should be emphasized at this point. In securing employment the teacher should observe the following:

1. Apply only for positions where vacancies are known to exist. Inquiry may be made if there is doubt concerning a vacancy, but it is unethical to apply for a position held by another person who has not officially resigned.

2. Apply only through the channels which have been established by the board of education. Ordinarily, the superintendent is authorized to accept applications but another officer of the board may be the designated official to receive applications in some instances.

3. Apply only for positions for which the teacher can qualify for certification. The applicant should be aware of state certification requirements as well as any additional district standards. A teacher who signs a contract is expected to meet all qualifications required for proper certification. Otherwise, the contract is not enforceable by the teacher.

4. Avoid the slightest inference or hint that the teacher will accept less than the stipulated salary for the position. No professional person will “bid” less than another for a particular position.

5. Avoid the appearance or the practice of exercising any undue influence or effort to secure a position. Interviews should be made according to the policies of the board of education.

6. Apply only for positions in which the teacher is genuinely interested. Professional teachers avoid applications for positions as “job insurance” or until a better position is available.

Making the program as effective as it should be. These among others:

  1. The problem of making the need for ethical, conduct real and meaningful to the student is a major one. The student, for example, may indicate on his examination paper or in class discussion that he knows what is expected of him in the professional ethics involved in a large number of situations. However, that does not prove what his actions will be when those same situations arise in his own experience.

2. While ethics may be taught in terms of the ideal or the accepted theory of what teacher performance should be under a number of different circumstances, the teacher may be disappointed to find that actual practice is far below the ideal set up by professors of education.Because of these and other problems colleges of education are faced with real challenges to bring their programs of building high professional standards of conduct as close as possible to the real-life problems of teachers. Often they find that prospective teachers are much more concerned with meeting the hurdles required to obtain a certificate, securing a desirable teaching position, succeeding in the classroom, and a myriad of other problems which force the study of ethics into the background.

Because it is difficult for teacher-education institutions to teach professional ethics effectively, it becomes a problem for in-service training and graduate course work. No teacher can hope to have a satisfactory understanding of professional ethics until he has been in the field and met some of the real problems which teachers encounter from time to time. They are usually then ready to apply theory to the solution of these problems and to help improve their own professional conduct. Graduate courses and other forms for inservice training which emphasize professional conduct are then much meaningful and productive.

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