I believe the most important responsibility of the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) is deciding who is admitted to the teaching profession and who remains in it. In the great majority of cases it is an easy decision.
Most applicants and teachers act ethically, both professionally and personally. They are worthy of the special trust and responsibility vested in them by our community.
There is another very small group where it is also easy to make a decision about their suitability to teach – those who have committed certain serious criminal offences or have significantly crossed the professional boundaries expected of a teacher. Clearly these people are not suitable to teach our children.
Where it becomes challenging is when a person has or acquires criminal history or crosses professional boundaries, but not to the degree mentioned above.
Where do you draw the line: at one drug offence, two drug offences, six drug offences? What factors should be taken into account when assessing a person’s character for entering or remaining in the profession? Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. For how long should a significant mistake be held against a person?
Some of the legislation governing the QCT is expected to be changed in the near future. If the changes are passed by State Parliament, the QCT will have to develop policy about:
- the behaviour or types of behaviour that would exclude someone from being admitted to the profession
- the behaviour or types of behaviour, either personal or professional, that would lead to a teacher’s registration being suspended and/or cancelled.
To help inform policy on these areas the QCT will run focus groups with classroom teachers and principals, and with representatives of parent groups, teacher unions and employer authorities.
As the regulator of the teaching profession in Queensland, the QCT is predominately about peers making judgements about peers, which is why the majority of board members are registered teachers. Board members must always take into account what is in the best interests of school students and the profession.
If you were a member of one of these focus groups what would be the key points you would like to make? You can leave your comments below: