Teacher argues against proposed code of conduct

May 8th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Another sticking point in the bill was around the introduction of a code of conduct to replace a code of ethics.

Jules Nicholas, a teacher with more than 16 years experience in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, said a code of conduct was not needed.

“We already have an aspiration code of ethics that we value and set high standards for us in the profession.

“I’m a teacher with three teenage children and expect that the teachers who appear in front of my children will adhere to the code of ethics.

“Do we really need a code of conduct? Are you saying that you don’t trust the thousands of teachers that work in the thousands of classrooms every day in the thousands of schools?”

I’m amazed anyone can argue there is no need for a binding code of conduct.

The chair of the soon to be scrapped New Zealand Teachers’ Council, Alison McAlpine, said the new council would need greater powers to discipline teachers than it currently had.

“The new professional body should have the power to cancel a teacher’s registration for competence reasons.”

Under the proposed amendments, a teacher’s practising certificate could be cancelled but not a registration, although that could be done in matters of serious misconduct.

That needed to be changed so the new body could cancel registrations based on incompetence, McAlpine said.

That would be good.

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32 Responses to “Teacher argues against proposed code of conduct”

  1. WineOh (608 comments) says:

    (spellcheck the title?)

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  2. Kimbo (747 comments) says:

    Teachers: They really are a different breed and gender, aren’t they?!

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  3. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    “Do we really need a code of conduct?”

    As a parent I say yes, teachers absolutely need a code of conduct.

    “Are you saying that you don’t trust the thousands of teachers that work in the thousands of classrooms every day in the thousands of schools?”

    As a profession I think teachers are one of the most trustworthy, and every day I drop my kids at school I am entrusting the most valuable things in my life to the care of teachers. But individually some of those thousands of teachers are going to be bad. And if there is no code of conduct and the powers to investigate and discipline the few bad ones then the profession as a whole will suffer credibility.

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  4. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Codes of conduct are rarely followed and generally exist only as a wall hanging. They are usually refered to only as a means of targeting people who are not towing the line, for other reasons.

    What matters is the conduct itself, not the declared values.

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  5. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    “(spellcheck the title?)”

    Oh look a Teacher ! ;)

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  6. geoff3012 (56 comments) says:

    Kimbo (460 comments) says:
    May 8th, 2014 at 10:19 am
    “Teachers: They really are a different breed and gender, aren’t they?!”

    Yep….the 3rd sex…..male,female and school teachers!

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  7. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    Please please please can registrations be cancelled for incompetence. But the Teachers will resist that with all the power their arrogant Union can muster

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  8. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Teachers and their unions are protectors of paedophilia, looking at the number of convicted ex-teachers (or messengers of the left), convicted or caught for disgusting offences in the past ten years. Most have been in positions with no one daring to blow the whistle because of their union cultures.

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  9. Colville (2,191 comments) says:

    I trust 99.99% of teachers.
    Its just sorting out who is the 1/10,000 that is the problem.

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  10. Bill Ted (88 comments) says:

    Jeepers Colville you’re generous. I’d trust 80% of teachers at a push. Even teachers don’t trust a lot of their own. There’s a significant number that are incompetent but harmless, but then there’s the alcoholics, kiddy fiddlers and bonified ideological nutters. The unions, of course, serve to protect the lot of them.

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  11. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    What other professions in New Zealand have a code of conduct? Unnecessary and very Nanny State.

    In teaching, there are already Registered Teacher Criteria (for registration), collective agreements, and job descriptions – and that’s more than enough rules and guidelines.

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  12. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    And there’s a Code of Ethics published by the Teachers’ Council.

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  13. Kimbo (747 comments) says:

    …but then there’s the alcoholics…

    That describes the best teacher I ever had about 30 years ago. Brilliant, offbeat guy, who got a whole bunch of guys over the line for School Cert English, who wouldn’t have otherwise made it.

    Used to dispense wisdom regarding the use of language that I still remember and hopefully utilise on a regular basis.

    Looking back at the time I was too young and inexperienced in life to realise the signs (poorly shaven, disheveled and limited range of clothes, etc.). Just thought he was a bit eccentric.

    Sadly, some 10 years later it caught up with him, and he turned up to class obviously drunk. Sadly, from what I hear the PR-minded Principal who was looking to turn the school in Auckland Grammar Mark II dumped him like a hot potato, rather than help him work through the issue. In the end a brilliant teacher who may have been retained for the mutual benefit for all concerned left the profession under a cloud and in a blaze of bad publicity.

    I don’t condone drunkenness in the class room, but maybe there was another way…

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  14. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    All I can say is thank God they are getting rid of the Teacher’s Council. A complete waste of time that thing was.

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  15. Rightandleft (656 comments) says:

    There are two problems I see with a code of conduct. One is that under the current bill the new EDUCANZ will have no elected teacher representatives and in fact there is a set maximum of 5 registered teachers to serve on it, but no minimum. As a result you would have a code of conduct being decided upon by an outside body and imposed without teachers having any say in the matter.

    This leads to my second concern, that the code would be used to silence teachers from speaking out against poor education policies. Since the minister of the day will appoint the entire council it will have a clearly political agenda and would not have the trust of the profession.

    Lawyers and doctors have elected members on their governing bodies, so why not teachers?

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  16. publicwatchdog (2,294 comments) says:

    How come New Zealand MPS are not bound by an ENFORCEABLE ‘Code of Conduct’?

    They make the rules for everyone else!

    New Zealand – ‘the least corrupt country in the world’ …….

    YEAH RIGHT.

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption/anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

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  17. Kimbo (747 comments) says:

    How come New Zealand MPS are not bound by an ENFORCEABLE ‘Code of Conduct’?

    Any chance we could have the same for political agitators and activists?

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  18. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    Of course there needs to be a code of conduct. COC’s are fundamental to any profession, regardless of whether it is teaching children, bathing the elderly, or stacking vegetables in a public place. COC’s make the standards specific and therefore there are no ‘mistakes’ regarding behaviour.

    Its not about having too many rules, its about being informed, and knowing what is expected of you.

    I fail to see why anyone would complain, because they not only protect the employer, but they also are beneficial to the worker.

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  19. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    @ Kimbo (462 comments) says:
    May 8th, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Any chance we could have the same for political agitators and activists?

    When we start paying them money for what they do, then I’m sure giving them a COD would be perfectly acceptable.
    Until then, they are bound by the biggest COC of all – the law.

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  20. ShawnLH (4,447 comments) says:

    “New Zealand – ‘the least corrupt country in the world’ …….”

    Just happens to be true of course, regardless of what hysterical, placard waving nutters think.

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  21. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    Red Sam (122 comments) says:
    May 8th, 2014 at 11:12 am
    What other professions in New Zealand have a code of conduct? Unnecessary and very Nanny State.

    Real estate agents. And I don’t have money forcibly removed from my pay packet to pay for them, nor entrust my children into their care, so suck it up princess.

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  22. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    All civil servants have a code of conduct, and some even have two codes of conduct (the over-arching one and one specific to their role).

    Hospital employees also have codes of conduct and even university students have codes of conduct that is linked to their enrolment.

    I’d have to go back many years before I could come up with an example of employment that I am aware of, that didn’t have one, except for self-employment.

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  23. Kimbo (747 comments) says:

    Any chance we could have the same for political agitators and activists?

    When we start paying them money for what they do, then I’m sure giving them a COD would be perfectly acceptable.
    Until then, they are bound by the biggest COC of all – the law.

    Not so – non-paid volunteers also have codes of conduct – scouts, etc.

    Would be fascinating to see Penny et. al. being required to conform to the ethical requirements of “full disclosure” and “absolute honesty”. I suggest it would unveil a web of deceit that would make Crosby Textor look transparent! :)

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  24. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    @ Kimbo (463 comments) says:
    May 8th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve never come across a Code of Conduct that has required ‘absolute honesty’.

    Generally they are about not bringing their employer into disrepute – not speaking to the media unless they have authorisation, not sharing ‘secrets’ of the organisation, respecting the privacy of others, blah blah blah.

    What you are suggesting regarding the likes of Penny, is that only those people who the government finds acceptable should be able to speak out, and anyone else that wishes to share an opinion contrary to that of the ruling party, has to keep quiet?

    Can’t wait for that policy to be announced!!

    Codes of conduct do not and cannot tell a person to not voice their political opinion, but they do often have guidelines about how that may be done – and always they must be careful not to bring their employer into disrepute.

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  25. Kimbo (747 comments) says:

    What you are suggesting regarding the likes of Penny, is that only those people who the government finds acceptable should be able to speak out, and anyone else that wishes to share an opinion contrary to that of the ruling party, has to keep quiet?

    Not at all.

    But issues such as donors would be fascinating.

    So also would be the means by which “spontaneous” displays of apparent public displeasure, including on the internet.

    For example, I am always intrigued that no matter what the issue, the same names regularly appear in the NZ Herald comments.

    Just like MPs have to declare all their financial interests, the voluntary ethical requirement for disclosure of any relevant organisational allegiances would soon weed out the supposedly “spontaneous” online respondents and talk-back callers.

    Seems to me that if you are seeking to agitate for political change (as is anyone’s right), all the cards should be on the table.

    Also HOW protests are organised and orchestrated could conform to a COC. You know – no foul or hateful language, such as burning in effigy and committing violence against people and property.

    Or are these folks above the law? Apparently not, according to what you have said. Great – then let them affirm that in their organisational ethical requirements. If they don’t, fine. It is only when you break the law that it has an effect. But if you think you are above the law, then declare it.

    Also, breadth of research methods and sources would be useful to see. Folk like Penny are always quick to weave a plot theory out of the alliances business and government form. What undeclared local overseas organisations and sources are used by the counter-culture? Stick ‘em on the table as a voluntary core of conduct so we can all judge fairly and accurately.

    Information is power!

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  26. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    There are some brilliant teachers even off-beat ones. The kids love them. If you want to know who the best teachers are ask the kids. But then there are the penny dreadfuls and the kids know them too. The Union is there to protect the drunks, the pedophiles and the ones who are plain mad and lazy.

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  27. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    Not only Herald that has the same letter writers published – almost always a left wing diatribe.

    Other subsidiaries like the Bay of Plenty Times do the same but nearly all pro Maori orientated. They only have the cartoons ultra left wing anti Government – probably as sent from Auckland.

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  28. burt (8,036 comments) says:

    Teachers can always resign and get a different job if they don’t like the rules put in place by their employer.

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  29. burt (8,036 comments) says:

    Judith

    Until then, they are bound by the biggest COC of all – the law.

    Funny – you seem to think people should be ‘bound’ by the law – just yesterday you were saying the law shouldn’t be applied to Cunliffe because he promised his donors something different to the law and he shouldn’t be bound by a law he voted to pass.

    Do you think MPs are above the law or this exception only made for union loving MPs ?

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  30. wiseowl (832 comments) says:

    Yes ,good to get rid of the teachers council but the body to replace it is going to named The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    The National Government should NOT allow this to occur.

    This is NEW ZEALAND !

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  31. OneTrack (2,833 comments) says:

    “This is NEW ZEALAND !”

    This was New Zealand. Things are changing.

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  32. wiseowl (832 comments) says:

    Agreed Onetrack but its time we stood up to these changes that are being slipped through with no mandate from kiwis New Zealand wide.

    Unfortunately the National Party and the MP’s we thought would stand up against this PC and race based infiltration are all standing around gagged and nodding.

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