I believe... and ask myself...
My personal code of ethics applies to the way I interact with students, my colleagues, and the families in the school community and my vision for a school culture. I strive to treat people well through understanding, kindness, and integrity. My mom always said that I would be a good judge because as a child I was always working for justice and able to see multiple perspectives. I think the job of educational leader suits me well for the same reasons. Empathy and the ability to work with others are strong skills that need to be reflected on an constantly refined to suit the people and situations. Reflection is present in my code of ethics for this reason.
Students come first and being committed to all students are at the top of the list because keeping the focus on students is what it is all about for me. Students provide the purpose and inspiration. As educational leaders, we need to nurture, include, inspire and protect each one. McKenzie and Scheurich article, Equity Traps, encouraged school leaders to dive into the work of discussing equity for all students.
The remaining four bullet points are lists in no particular order, as they are all important to me personally and professionally. Everyone knows that school is for learning and I know that everyone in the building needs to be learning to make it the best place possible. I am a life-long learner for learnings sake, fulfilling my curiosities. I often lead books studies, share articles, participate in Twitter book chats and whatsapp friends and colleagues relevant quotes from books I am reading. I will be able to check myself by asking how I can see a result of my learning in action. I know that when adults are curious and excited to learn, students will emulate and internalize the practice.
Respecting diversity is a good first step, but I dove in. Celebrating diversity, highlighting the difference and similarities amongst us is so important. Diversity exists in many ways around us through culture, ethnicity, thought, and more. Learning from each others’ various perspectives and experiences. Celebrating diversity reflects the idea that we are better together.
Healthy relationships take intentionality. Speaking with people face to face, listening before forming the next thought and being open-minded to ideas. This communication takes practice, reflection and refinement. Marzano, Waters and McNulty’s meta analysis of the impact of principals showed that strong lines of communication had a direct positive correlation to student learning (2006, p. 42). Fostering a culture of shared beliefs was right behind communication on Marzano, Walters and McNulty’s list which hints at the idea that communication and culture are connected. When communication and culture are positive, then trust can be built. Trust allows for collaboration and feedback, positive and constructive, helping us all to improve ourselves and our professional practice.
Acting with integrity is the underlying aspect that makes all the above ethics possible. Having strong moral principles that guide decision making about students, the staff and the community is of utmost importance so that trust can be built. Authenticity in a leaders actions and transparency, when possible, all lead to the community seeing a person of integrity helping in difficult situations.
I want the people that I work with to be able to see my code of ethics in action in every interaction we have and the decisions we make together.
What would you put on your personal code of ethics? Do you agree or disagree with something I wrote? Please share in the comments below.
Association of American Educators. Code of Ethics for Educators. Retrieved from
https://www.aaeteachers.org/index.php/about-us/aae-code-of-ethics on September 11, 2018.
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works: From research to results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
McKenzie, K and Scheurich, J. (2004). Equity Traps: A Useful Construct for Preparing Principals to Lead Schools That Are Successful With Racially Diverse Students. Educational Administration Quarterly, Vol. 40(5), pp. 601-632.