Code of conduct

30th April 2004 at 01:00
Advice for teachers in their early career

To pass your induction period you're going to be judged against the qualified teacher status and induction standards. One section, professional values and practice, which is based on the General Teaching Council code, is sometimes neglected because of the overwhelming attention given to planning, behaviour management and assessment. Butit is key to your professionalism.

The first standard states that you must have "high expectations of all pupils; respect their social, cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic backgrounds; and be committed to raising their educational achievement".

Phew, how do you demonstrate that?

It is in everything you do: what you expect of them and what you let them get away with. For instance, in the last couple of weeks I've seen new teachers allow children to call out, chat, chew gum and swear. In a Year 10 English class, nothing was said about students writing in felt tip pen or doodling in their books. In a Year 9 class, nothing happened to the boy who got out of his seat, went over to four girls and shouted "Shut the f*** up!" In many classes, I see pupils being praised and rewarded for work that they know is not good.

You also have to demonstrate and promote the positive values, attitudes and behaviour that you expect from your pupils. Shelley is a shining example.

Everything in her reception class is beautiful. The resources are organised, clean and well-presented; displays are fantastic. This lifts the spirits of all who use the room - you can see them doing their best. Other teachers' rooms are a mess. Some teachers nag pupils about uniform when they themselves look scruffy.

How do you speak to pupils? One young teacher peppers her interactions with secondary students but, thankfully, not colleagues, with "sweetheart" and "love". A Year 1 teacher, babies her pupils - there's always a child sitting on her lap. At the other extreme, one NQT continually addresses her Year 2 children harshly, using their full names - "Jason Goately", "Jill Thomas", and so on - and another gets the whole class to put their hands on their heads. Are they acting professionally? Are you?

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