Read the NEA Ethics Code & name those that you identify with strongly. Provide a copy of in TPE Portfolio, TPE 12: Professional, Legal and Ethical Obligations.
I strongly identify with some of the codes of ethics in Principle I, “Commitment to the Student.” Specifically,
1. “The educator shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
The educator should be a guide to lead students down the right path to learning. Because the goal of an educator is to teach students, I cannot imagine a situation where I would “restrain” a student from his or her “pursuit of learning”. I want all my students to learn.
2. “The educator shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.”
Though there are several viewpoints in most subjects (and biology is no exception), it is my job as an educator to present the facts in an unbiased manner. If there are two viewpoints, I want to inform students about the main points of both views and encourage students to engage in discussion to form their own opinions. For instance, I might discuss the ethical implications of stem cell research. I would present both sides; such as, supporters of stem cell research propose the benefits to research and medicine, and opponents argue that human embryos are alive and shouldn’t be used for research. It is important for the educator to be aware of his own viewpoints before entering the classroom. Then, as an educator, I must leave those opinions behind me at the threshold so I can present the material in a fair and balanced manner. The students must learn to form their own opinions, backed by facts and evidence. My job is to teach them how to think critically to develop these opinions, not tell them what they should believe.
3. “The educator shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.”
As an educator, there is nothing worse I can imagine doing than publically humiliating a student in order to punish them. There is nothing positive that can result from such a flawed disciplinary approach. In fact, most likely, a teacher who does that will lose the respect and trust of that student and perhaps the class as well. The students will fear the teacher, and won’t be as willing to learn from them. The bond between teacher and student needs to be one of respect and trust. The student must feel comfortable around the teacher in order to take risks, offer answers, participate in class, and be willing to fail. For it is through this failure that students learn with the gentle correction by the teacher. It doesn’t feel good to fail. Teacher’s must minimize the negative feeling that comes along with getting an answer wrong so students can focus on learning from their mistakes rather than the faults themselves. Students who are confident and open to the teacher will learn more in that classroom.