OCT OEEO

PS_September_2018

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re teachers ever truly off duty? Not entirely. Consider one Ontario Certified Teacher who was active on social media. He posted a blog with discrimina- tory language. On his website he also used, or linked to sites that used, homophobic language (referring to the LGBT commun- ity, for instance, as "a new anti-moral social order"). Moreover, this teacher made in- appropriate comments to a student, saying that homosexuals are bad for society. At the College, a Discipline Committee panel found the member guilty of professional misconduct and suspended his teaching certificate for one month. In addition, he was directed to complete a course on maintaining appropriate boundaries. Misconduct isn't just about what happens in the classroom, elsewhere in a school or board, or anywhere else where teachers are on the job. That's because the way in which individual teachers and the teaching profession are viewed transcends work hours and activities. "Teachers are role models in a community," says Nadine Carpenter, the College's manager of Intake and Hearings. "The position they hold is central to students in their care. It's important that high standards are upheld on and off duty." Being part of a profession that's held in such esteem is a privilege. The flip side to that privilege is the obligation to uphold it. Maintaining a sense of professionalism in and out of the classroom is an important way to ensure continued trust in teachers. BY STUART FOXMAN

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