Code of Ethics for the Catholic School Teacher

Preamble by Rev. John F. Meyers, President, National Catholic Educational Association

"GO, Teach!" Christ charged His first disciples. Since the beginning of Christianity, education has been one of the most important missions of the Church. Its success depends upon the professional competence, quality, and above all, the commitment of the teacher to Christ.

This Code of Ethics for the Catholic School Teacher is a concise description of the person who is growing in faith, hope and love of Christ.  It specifies the attitude and the practice of the Catholic school teacher in relation to the student, the parent, the community, and to the profession.  This code offers a guide by which to live, a goal toward which to strive and a promise of lasting success.

PRINCIPLE I

COMMITMENT TO THE STUDENT

As Catholic School educators we believe that students, like ourselves, are pilgrim people, making their journey through this life with a constant focus on the next. As Christian Catholic educators, we have a special responsibility to encourage each student to achieve his/her maximum potential. We work to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals. In fulfilling our obligation to the student, we are called to

  1. Help students see the relevance of a Christian value system in their daily lives.

  2. Help students learn to relate human culture and knowledge to the news of salvation.
  3. Show Christian concern about the joys and problems of each student.
  4. Speak with charity and justice about students even when called upon to discuss sensitive matters.
  5. Work with students in preparing liturgies, paraliturgies and other religious programs.
  6. Respect confidential information concerning students and their homes.
  7. Plan appropriate service projects for students that will develop their sense of responsibility to the community.
  8. Enable students to grow in a sense of self-worth and accountability by selecting activities which promote the positive self-concept as becomes a maturing Christian.
  9. Develop the students' knowledge and understanding of the subject(s) for which we are responsible, without suppression or distortion.
  10. Refuse remuneration for tutoring students assigned to our classes and reject any other use of our students for personal financial gain.

PRINCIPLE II

COMMITMENT TO PARENTS

As Catholic school educators we believe children are influenced by home, community, and a society in which attitudes toward Christian values are often challenged. Parents, the source from whom children and youth derive their values, entrust their children to the Catholic school to instruct, complement and intensify the education and formation begun in the home. We are called to assist these parents in fulfilling their obligation for the Christian formation and education of their child; therefore, we will

  1. Respect parents' fundamental human right to know, to understand and to share in decisions that affect the education of their child by
    1. assuring parents of a commitment to ongoing education as a professional educator and informing them, upon request, of educational qualifications.
    2. Keeping parents apprised of the curriculum and method of instruction.
    3. Providing opportunities for parents to help shape classroom and school policies and keeping them well informed regarding all current policies.
  2. Develop educational programs and activities to enhance family life as well as the home-school relationship.
  3. Respect any confidential information which parents share.
  4. Report to parents their child's progress regularly and as needed, in a spirit of charity, with professional accuracy and honesty.

PRINCIPLE III

COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY

As Catholic school educators, we believe the school community is both an agent of appropriate change and a preserver of basic tradition. We consider the school community an integral part of the parish whose people it serves, and a vital force for preparing future civic and Church leaders. In fulfilling our obligation to our apostolic profession, we are called to

  1. Promote the peace of Christ in the world by
    1. modeling peaceful solutions to community conflicts.
    2. encouraging a spirit of cooperation and avoiding the extremes in competition.
    3. developing skills which will enable students to interact with society for a better world.
  2. Cooperate wholeheartedly in the continued building of parish life and spirit by:
    1. emphasizing the integral nature of the Catholic school within the parish and community.
    2. assisting communication concerning parish resources, needs and events.
    3. modeling active participation in one's own parish.
  3. Develop student potential for constructive Christian leadership within the American democracy by:
    1. ensuring an adequate understanding of history and its lessons.
    2. providing opportunities for taking responsible moral positions on current issues.
    3. offering instruction and practice in leadership skills.
  4. Contribute to the well-being of the area in which the school is located by:
    1. reflecting the philosophy of the school in one's attitudes and actions.
    2. manifesting respect and appreciation for the work of educators in other schools and systems.
    3. encouraging in students a respect for the person and property of their neighbors.
    4. avoiding inappropriate school activities that disturb the peace and order of the community.

    PRINCIPLE IV

    COMMITMENT TO THE PROFESSION

    As Catholic school educators we believe that professional excellence in Catholic schools directly influences our Church, country and world. We strive to create a Christian environment which promotes sound moral and professional judgment. Through our spirit of joy and enthusiasm, we encourage others to join us in our apostolate of teaching in a Catholic school.

    In fulfilling our responsibilities as professional educators we are called to

    1. Maintain professional standards by
      1. preserving the reputations of colleagues, administrators and students.
      2. safeguarding the exchange of confidential information.
      3. refusing to use the classroom to further personal ends through the sale of any goods, products or publications.
      4. refraining from using the school as a platform for one's own beliefs which are not in accord with the school philosophy or Church teaching.
      5. overseeing the duties of non-professionals, making sure they assume only those responsibilities appropriate to their role.
      6. assisting in the orientation of educators new to a position and/or school.
      7. considering the obligations of the teaching contract as binding in a most serious manner, conscientiously fulfilling the contract.
      8. terminating unexpired contracts only because of serious reasons, with the consent of both parties, and after sufficient notice.
      9. upholding the authority of the school when communicating with parents, students, and civic community.
      10. presenting honest, accurate professional qualifications of self and colleagues when required for professional reasons.
    2. Seek and encourage persons who live a life consonant with Gospel values and Catholic Church teachings to pursue the apostolate of teaching by:
      1. modeling the faith life and witnessing to the Faith Community on the parish, diocesan, national and world levels.
      2. exemplifying the teachings of Jesus Christ by dealing with children and adults in true love and justice.
      3. exhibiting knowledge of the Church documents, especially "To Teach as Jesus Did," "Sharing the Light of Faith," and "The Catholic School."