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Preamble: The following principles provide common ground for interaction between independent school professionals and their many constituents (parents, students, colleagues at other schools, and the public). The NAIS Principles of Good Practice for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of school operations to guide schools in becoming the best education communities they can be, to embed the expectation of professionalism, and to further our sector’s core values of transparency, excellence, and inclusivity. Accordingly, membership in NAIS is contingent upon agreement to abide by the spirit of the PGPs.
Overview: Entrusted with the education of children, the independent school teacher promotes the best interests of the child within the context of the school’s philosophy. Those who supervise teachers are responsible for the quality of teaching and for promoting growth in those who teach. The following principles provide guidelines for teachers and supervisors of teachers.
Principles of Good Practice:
- The teacher has a thorough knowledge appropriate for his or her teaching assignment and stays abreast of recent developments in the field.
- The teacher uses a variety of teaching techniques suitable to the age and needs of the students and subject matter being taught.
- The teacher establishes positive relationships with students, which, while recognizing the differing roles of adult and child, are characterized by mutual respect and good will.
- The teacher collaborates with colleagues and the school’s leadership in the design and implementation of curriculum within the context of the school’s overall program and mission.
- The teacher initiates growth and change in his or her own intellectual and professional development, seeking out conferences, courses, and other opportunities to learn.
- The teacher is self-aware and self-monitoring in identifying and solving student, curricular, and school problems. At the same time, the teacher knows the mission and policies of the school and, when questions or concerns arise, raises them with appropriate colleagues and supervisors.
- The teacher serves his or her school outside the classroom in a manner established by the individual school and consistent with the responsibilities of a professional educator. For example, teachers often serve as advisers, coaches, or activity sponsors.
- The teacher participates in the establishment and maintenance of an atmosphere of collegial support and adherence to professional standards.
- The teacher welcomes supervision in the context of clearly defined and well communicated criteria of evaluation.
- The teacher models integrity, curiosity, responsibility, creativity, and respect for all persons as well as an appreciation for racial, cultural, and gender diversity.
Supervisors of Teachers
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- The supervisor has thorough knowledge appropriate to his or her supervisory assignment and stays abreast of recent developments in the field. The supervisor also exemplifies in his or her own work with faculty members the qualities that he or she hopes to develop in the faculty.
- The supervisor develops and administers a comprehensive system of hiring, consistent with the policies of the school, which results in the appointment of the best-qualified candidate and a well-informed match between school and teacher. Throughout the hiring and supervisory processes, the supervisor values racial, cultural, and gender diversity.
- The supervisor ensures that faculty members new to the school receive orientation and support sufficient for them to work effectively and with confidence that they are carrying out the educational mission, policies, and procedures of the school.
- The supervisor ensures that teachers are informed of both praise and criticism of their work and that useful support and assistance are available to each teacher to improve the quality of teaching.
- The supervisor makes available to all faculty members on an equitable basis whatever resources the school can provide for professional growth and development, both inside and outside the school.
- The supervisor encourages and challenges teachers to initiate curricular improvement by providing the necessary time and resources and by creating structures to foster faculty collaboration on curriculum development.
- The supervisor leads faculty members in upholding high standards of professional behavior and responds immediately when behavior occurs that is harmful to children or harmful to the school community.
- The supervisor evaluates and works to improve teaching through classroom visits, discussions with teachers, and other methods that are fair and consistent with the practices of the individual school. Evaluation is based on clearly articulated criteria that teachers have helped define and occurs in a context of respect for the teacher’s professional knowledge and decision-making capability. The supervisor also monitors his or her own work by inviting suggestions and critiques from teachers.
- When a faculty member’s future in the school is in question, the supervisor devotes sufficient attention and resources to ensure that the situation is resolved or that the faculty member’s departure from the school is handled with attention to due process and the dignity of the individual.
- The supervisor ensures that all personnel policies are clearly articulated to faculty members and makes every effort to promote the establishment of salaries and benefits commensurate with the professional responsibilities of teaching.
Download a PDF of the complete set of NAIS Principles of Good Practice.