Educators have a visible place in their communities. The choices they make, even when well-intended, can affect their families, jobs, schools and profession. The Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Education Association and Ohio Federation of Teachers offer this series of tip sheets supported by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators and Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators on how to recognize situations which can get good educators in trouble.
#1 - Social Media Tips
Most educators carry smart phones that give them photo, video and texting opportunities and the instant ability to post, like or snap. But these social media opportunities can blur the line between work and personal life.
#2 - Extracurricular Leaders
Athletic coaches, music directors and club advisors make a life-shaping impact on their students, but they also face unique situations. They often spend long hours with students, interact with them outside school and manage public funds. These scenarios present added professional risks.
#3 - Dollars and Sense
The public gives educators a great deal of responsibility to manage public funds. If educators fail to properly manage these funds, even by accident, they can be held personally and professionally liable.
#4 - Drugs and Alcohol
If an educator inappropriately uses alcohol, tobacco or drugs, even outside of school, the educator may be putting his or her license at risk.
#5 - The Top 10 Professional Conduct Concerns
Most educators care about their professional conduct, but they still can make small, avoidable mistakes that lead to larger consequences.
#6 - Testing and Academic Integrity
Educators measure student progress though standardized tests, IEP and ETR goals, and student grades. Accurate reporting is a serious responsibility that can affect students’ academic success. If educators fail to accurately measure and report data, their professional licenses may be at risk.
#7 - Rapback and Applications
Ohio educators and the Ohio Department of Education both play key roles in keeping students safe. The Department plays its part by receiving and reviewing updates on new criminal activity of Ohio educators. Educators do their parts by always disclosing their full criminal histories when they apply for or renew licenses.
#8 - Classroom Management and Etiquette
The classroom is a busy place and situations can quickly escalate without notice. To prevent situations from getting out of hand educators should implement positive classroom management techniques.
#9 - Broken Contracts
Ohio teachers, principals, superintendents and others are tasked with providing consistent, stable learning environments for their students. Educators fail to honor this obligation when they terminate their contracts after July 10 of any school year or any time during the school year. In addition to creating uncertainty for their students and districts, it also can put educators’ professional licenses at risk.
#10 - Educational Leaders
Interactions between educators, building administrators, district administrators and other educational leaders are necessary for day-to-day operations of Ohio schools. All educational leaders should support and encourage educators to do their best for their students every day. Unprofessional interactions by educational leaders can result in professional discipline and derail even the best education environments.
#11 - Remote Instruction
As Ohio educators rose to the challenging, unexpected circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, many districts transitioned to remote instruction. The following tips can help educators instruct their students remotely while maintaining the highest educational and ethical standards.
#12 - Professional Boundaries and Personal Business
The education community faces new challenges to meet the needs of each child as it navigates remote and hybrid learning. With many educators working from home, the lines between personal and professional time, as well as equipment, may blur. This tip sheet clarifies existing professional boundaries and responsibilities in an evolving environment.
#13 - Mandatory Reporting
Ohio educators are mandatory reporters and must serve as champions against child abuse and be familiar with student behaviors that suggest abuse and/or neglect. Educators fail to honor this obligation when they do not immediately report abuse and/or neglect to a children services agency or an officer of the peace where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child under the age of 18 or person with a developmental or physical disability under the age of 21 has suffered or faces the threat of suffering abuse or neglect.