All About Trees

Children build tree houses. Birds live in them. They bear fruits that we eat, fresh from the earth's ground. Houses, furniture, tables are made from trees.

In the Holy Bible, they are main characters. It says that when good deeds/seeds are planted, they bear good fruit. We can know what kind of a person one is, with the fruit he/she bears. Usually, a good tree bears good fruit, and a bad one bears rotten fruit.

See this sketch/story I wrote:

There are several trees around our small house and every time I look out the little garden, I see the avocado tree. They look humongous in my sight, and another mango tree at the back of it, scares me.

The mango tree spreads its branches all over the garden. They say there's a white lady living in it.

Every time people pass by them, they run and make a sign of the cross like driving the devil away or driving some kind of evil spirit. So I close the door before the sun sets. I think the trees would be monsters. "But no!" Fairy tales say they're children's friends. They even give shade when the weather's too hot, and sift harsh wind when there's storm.

One day while going around the avocado tree, I thought about the fairies my grandparents usually tell me about. Fairies can live in trees. One day (for them) inside the trunk equals 100 years here (for us). Those are the myths.

Sometimes, some people say that trees are wicked, but I can't believe them because God created all of us, with a good purpose.

Often, they just watch. Though people around can be arrogant and they don't talk, trees are more friendly.

Leaves scatter around the house when rainy season comes, and every time I cry I have to close the windows so they won't see me. But then, trees are like good people around, who listen. They have big ears as wide as their branches spread. They couldn't talk and could look scary sometimes, but in the end they're the one bringing light and standing by when we cry.

2. Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robin in her hair
Upon who's bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only GOD can make a tree.

Refuge in Nature

After a closer reading of Refuge I was fascinated by some of the similarities between my life and the novel. I really enjoy reading the nature narratives because of the way she speaks so lovingly of her observations. The author's relationship and love for nature is very similar to her love for her mother. My own mother was diagnosed in the last year with stage three ovarian cancer. I was immediately entranced by Refuge the moment her mother came out and revealed that she had cancer. I felt a small amount of emotion reading the play by play of the cancer process as this has literally been my life for the last year.

The author's analysis and observations on the word cancer is right on. Cancer is a word with infinite power. So much fear comes with the word cancer but it's warranted by how unknown and fatal it can be. My favorite part of the book so far is when the author tells about a time she spotted a barn swallow with its foot trapped in a barb wire fence. The example perfectly symbolizes her mother's imminent doom and finally her death. The passage about the barn swallow was truly thrilling and actually had my heart racing. Another similarity between my life and the authors is that my parents are both hardcore birdwatchers.

I was raised being dragged all over the world on their bird watching adventures. Although I may not have loved it at the time I can recognize how much I learned from those experiences. If I could be one bird in the world I would be a peregrine falcon. When I was little my dad would take me to Skagit in the mornings to watch peregrines do their hunting. Nothing is more impressive than seeing a peregrine strike with a size and speed that is unmatched.

Nature in Its Original Form

If you love nature in its raw and original form, Safari holidays are for you. Tanzania Safari is a combination of nature and adventure. At this place, wildlife is preserved in time. You will experience the difference when you visit untouched places. A game reserve that is remote and timeless. Something that cannot be replicated or imitated. Wildlife in its wildest form defines a Safari. It is a tour that will change your perception of holidays. There is nothing artificial about this Tanzania Safari. It is as pure as the oxygen of the trees and as unpredictable as the bewilderedness of wild animals.

Whatever be your expectation from this kind of holiday, we are sure you will get more than that. Your experience will be one of its kinds. Being so close to nature, animals, birds, and their habitat can evoke a unique feeling. It can be addictive and we are sure you will want to come back again. Safari holidays can be very intoxicating and indulging. They are comfortable, luxurious, and sophisticated, yet have a rough element. It is like a luxury treat in the lap of wild. There are some attractions that will entice you to visit the place over and over. Mentioned here are some places that you cannot afford to miss. You could stay in a sophisticated camp or lodge. You can also choose stay at a luxury beach.

Places You Should Visit

Serengeti: This is the largest and the best-known national park in Tanzania. There are migratory animals that move around the park in search of food.

Ngorongoro Crater: This crater is a part of the Safari holidays and is the world's largest unbroken volcanic caldera. It is a natural enclosure for a wide variety of wildlife species. This crater has around 25,000 animals that include the "big five." The big five comprises lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo.

Masai Mara: You can witness the great migration from Serengeti to Masai Mara where thousands of animals migrate in search of greener pastures. Masai mara is the most enthralling wildlife theatre on earth. Tanzania safari is famous for the annual wildebeest migration.

Lake Manyara: The highlight of this place is tree-climbing lions. This shallow lake is described as the loveliest lake in Tanzania. It has a diverse landscape that is captivating and scenic. It is known for baboons and is also home to herbivores.

Safari holidays offer a very different experience from a regular holiday or vacation. They have an element of surprise and thrill. Although your itinerary may be planned, but still have a chance to discover something rare and unique. Tanzania can offer you a vivid experience, something that may not happen with somebody else ever. Nature has a basket of surprises in store for you. All you have to do is go ahead and pick the basket of Tanzania safari. A safari holiday cannot be compared or matched with any other type of vacation. The closeness that you share with nature and wildlife can be memorable. If you haven't yet booked your Safari holidays, don't wait any further. Go ahead and experience a completely new world. is the website where you can choose the type of African safari holidays you want to experience. The company also organizes Tanzania Safari and provides tailor-made holiday packages at affordable prices.

Traditions and Celebrations

The origins of the customs that we think of as peculiarly associated with the celebration of the New Year, first appear in the ways the ancient peoples regarded the New Year. Likewise the other ancient societies in other parts of the world, the New Year festivities had been observed in our wild forests and plains by the native Indians. To the Creek Indians the ripening of the corn in July or August signified the termination of one year and the beginning of another. It was their customs to drape themselves with new clothes, replace the old interiors and households.

In that same way the modern society places attention into bringing something new into our lives, as part of our celebratory mode. Another native Indian tribe, The Iroquois, who inaugurated the new year in January, February or March with ceremonies emphasizing the expulsion of evil spirits. The customs involved the use of disguise and masks, making noises and confessions were all practiced by them.

Renewal seems to be the main objective of New Year, while the soil gets purified with the rain, snow and dormancy, the humans also prepare and plan new strategies for survival and hold dreams for a better future that they will bring in their hearts into the New Year. This time is the perfect time for a fresh start, the end of the year can take with it the heartaches, torments and sadness, so that a new prospective, new and better vibrations will take us into the new action just a week from now.

As the soil and plants get rid off unwanted growths by the seasonal changes and dormancy, humans also find themselves renewing, rethinking and re-planning. The soul most be clean first, before entering a new set of feelings, new problems and obstacles will also come, the hope is that we use these last days of the year to be at peace with the old obstacles, feelings and problems. New people, new soil, new efforts, new plants, new dynamics in everything that involves Nature and Humans.

With a new spiritual disposition may all of us finish this year with all wounds healed, and may we begin our journey keeping three words in mind, Strive, Seek and Find. Transmit this to all friends, family and always keep this efforts while working regular jobs, farm, and garden activities, we transmit good vibrations and we shall receive great gain, let Nature know you are in the right track of mind.

Loving Mother Nature is to listen to it, read more about gardening and plant information at;

Facts About Pearls Gemstone

For centuries, pearls have been worn by people who could afford them. These fascinating gems are universally appealing and they are appropriate with any type or style of clothing. They come in many sizes and price ranges.

Pearls are found inside a living creature, an oyster. They are formed when an irritant (such as pieces of debris, sand etc) enters the oyster. In order to protect itself, the oyster or mollusk secretes nacre (made of calcium carbonate) to coat the irritant, thus creating this wonderful gemstone. Oyster is not the only type of mollusk that can produce pearl, mussels and clams can also produce these valuable stones. Most pearls are produced by oysters in both saltwater and freshwater environments.

Man has found a way to create these June birthstones by inserting an irritant (nuclei) into these sea creature, stimulating the growth of pearls. All pearls made from this method are known as cultured pearls. The shape and size of the nuclei inserted will determine the shape and size of the pearl. Before they can be harvested, the oysters are left alone for several years to grow. The longer these oysters are left alone, the deeper the nacre, thus forming better luster pearls.

Virtually all pearls found today are cultured pearls whether they are grown in saltwater or freshwater. Pearls formed in saltwater oysters are more valuable and expensive than those formed in freshwater oysters. The world's finest Akoya saltwater pearls are produced by the Japanese for decades. Tahiti and Australia also produce saltwater pearls, prized for their great color, size and luster. Producing pearls with various freshwater shellfish was experimented by the Chinese several years ago, and now they are the largest producer of freshwater pearls in the world.

Once harvested, pearls are sorted and graded. The natural colors of freshwater pearls are shades of pink, white and peach. The Chinese also used other effective technique to enhance other colors. Examples of enhanced colors are blue, purple, peacock, green, gold and so on. The many variety of sizes, colors, texture and shapes make them fun to work with. While natural and cultured pearls are considered to be of equal quality, natural pearls are generally more expensive because they are rare. The luster of a genuine pearl remains stable while an imitation deteriorates over time.

Pearl is regarded as the birthstone for June and is associated with the Gemini zodiac sign, find out more about other gemstones facts.

Tips For Motivating Students and Changing Lives

Let's face it. Being a teacher is one of the most important jobs. You are teaching the future and what you do in the classroom has a HUGE impact on children and their life. Here is a very troubling fact. Low literacy is strongly related to crime. 70% of prisoners fall into the lowest two levels of reading proficiency according to the National Institute for Literacy. You have the gift of shaping the students in your classroom by teaching them well and motivating them to do and be their best! You aren't in control of what is going on in their home life, but you ARE in control of the 6 - 8 hours they are with you.

Try these things today in your classroom to get your students motivated and believing in themselves:

1. Build A Relationship

The first thing that needs to be in place in order for you to be in the position to motivate a child is to build a relationship with them. Let them know you care by greeting them at the door every morning. Talk to them about what is going on in their lives. Children have a sense and know when someone cares about them and when they don't. Show the children in your class they are important to you by being interested in them.

2. Give Praise and Encouragement

About 90% of the things student do in class go unrecognized. Spend one day paying attention to how much praise and encouragement you are giving students versus how much you reprimand. Praise and encouragement is a powerful tool to get children to succeed and it must be used consistently. Not once in a while. It also must be used for ALL students. Be specific with your praise. For example, instead of saying, "Nice job on your test." say "You must feel great about the A you got on your math test!"

3. Set Goals

Sit down with each student and talk with them about setting a goal. It can be a goal in anything, academic or social. Help them to create the goal, write it down and then plan out what they need to do to reach that goal. Also discuss with them how they will know they are on track for meeting their goal and have them write that down too. During this meeting you are the facilitator. You are guiding their thoughts and where they are going.

4. Motivate Through Your Instruction

Nowadays children are stimulated by video games and computers. Teacher need to be energetic and show you are enthusiastic about what you are teaching. I have been in classrooms, I kid you not, where the teacher has made it very clear to the students that they don't want to be teaching what they are teaching and guess what? The students end up not caring either! On the other side of the coin, I have also seen teachers who have made a subject that seemed like it would be very boring, come alive through their instruction and the kids sucked it up! You need to act as if what you are teaching is the best thing since sliced bread. Trust me! It works! Vary the way students learn by having them work in teams, using visuals and providing times for children to engage in their learning.

Remember, your job is VERY important so use the opportunity to make a change in a child's life and put them on the path to success!

Lori Furgerson is a national literacy consultant who has provided technical assistance to school sites and professional development to teachers across the country. She taught for 16 years in three under performing schools with great success. She has been a reading intervention teacher, as well as State Implementation Advisor to the state of Hawaii. Skillful use of a variety of core reading and intervention programs has allowed Lori to professionally shape leadership at the state, district, and local levels while increasing their instructional ability to successfully execute effective instruction. She works with teachers daily as an instructional coach and has a true passion for seeing them succeed and become the best they can be. Visit for your FREE 7 day Video E-Course on how to become a successful teacher.

Tips for New Chemistry Teachers

Next year's cohort of new chemistry teachers will soon be arriving in their new schools following their training. It is almost certain that for most of them, the year ahead will seem to be a daunting prospect, however there are many sources of guidance and support which can be tapped in to during the year. The most important thing is to remember you are not on your own and many other people have gone through the same experience in previous years.

Here is a useful list of things to help make the transition from a newly qualified chemistry teacher to a confident and successful teaching practitioner:

1) Ask for help

In the early days it is vital to ask for help and advice from your colleagues. It is only natural to be unsure of how things work or what should be done in certain situations. The more knowledge which you gain early on will allow a much more smooth transition into life as a teacher in your school.

2) Talk to your peers

Form a support group, perhaps on Facebook or some other social networking site, with some fellow teachers which you trained with the previous year. Allow time and space for helping each other out with ideas for lessons, resources and letting off steam. Schools can sometimes become very pressurised places and it is good to have people and places where you can relieve yourself of unnecessary stress.

3) Allow time to relax

This is certainly going to be a very busy and tiring experience, however you need to still maintain some perspective and work-life balance. Make sure you build in periods for rest and relaxation during your week, especially at the weekend. Allow yourself a chance to recharge your batteries! Perhaps play some sport, go to the cinema, organise a shopping trip- anything to take your mind off school!

4) Eat properly and maintain your energy levels

Many teachers, especially when new to the profession, fall in to the trap of skipping breakfast in the morning and then working through lunch to get things done. This can be very detrimental to your health and wellbeing and you are more likely to become run down and ill. By eating properly and fuelling your body, you will be able to deal with any challenges more easily.

5) Go to bed early

Set yourself a curfew time when all work has to be stopped and start to wind down before bedtime. If you can't do this then delegate the responsibility of enforcing the curfew to your partner! I'm sure they would be very keen to get to spend some time with you.

6) Use prepared resources

You will have enough on your plate with planning lessons, marking work, attending meetings etc without having to spend hours making your own resources. Make use of many excellent free resources which are available online for free and often produced by highly experienced teachers.

7) Associate with positive people

It can be all too easy to become down and depressed, especially when you have a lot of work and responsibility to contend with. There can be many negative voices and complaining people inhabiting a staffroom, try to afford being sucked into their world. Find yourself some positive, supportive people to hang out with at lunchtimes as they will help you to feel more happy about work. These people look on the positive side of life and are usually good to talk to for support and advice.

8) Enjoy the learning process

There will be many new pieces of information which need to be learnt and become familiar with, which can be a daunting task. You will not learn everything straightaway, so take things as they come and look on teaching as a long term acquisition of knowledge.

9) Don't take on too much, too early

It is tempting to get involved with many other activities which are associated with school life in addition to your usual teaching schedule. Leave these extra things alone, if possible, until you are fully comfortable with just the day to day teaching requirements. You will have many more opportunities as your career develops to become involved in hundreds of extra activities. Enjoy your spare time and keep it to yourself!

10) Keep smiling

Always remember that at the end of the day, teaching is a job! You don't need to carry the troubles and woes of the world on your own shoulders. There will always be students which need help and have problems. Always try to switch off when away from work and realise that the contribution you make will be immense without even having to think about it!

Andrew Lochery founded Green APLEducation Ltd in 2007.


Ideas For The First Day Of School

With the start of a new school year upon us, I have put together a few ideas for the first day back at school. It is an exciting day for students and teachers and a lot of fun can be had if planned out ahead of time. Over planning is the key. When I was in the classroom, I always ended up having too many activities, which works out well. You never know exactly how long a project may take, so it is always better to have too many activities than not enough. That's my motto! Make all the copies you will need for the day and place them in a file folder labeled "First Day of School Activities". Be prepared and organized!
1. Create A Time Capsule

The first day of school is a great time for students to create a time capsule they will store away until the end of the year. Provide students with a paper towel role or a Pringles container. Have them decorate it however they want. When they finish decorating it, you can have them do different activities depending on their grade level. Have them do a writing assignment, trace their hand, and/or draw a self-portrait. Have the child write their name and date on the paper work. Roll up the papers and slide them into the tube and store until the end of the year. The last week of school, have them create the same activities they did on the first day. When they open their time capsule, they can compare the two and see how much they grew.

2. Bulletin Board Ideas

Put together a bulletin board that is eye catching and can display student work. Before the school year starts, you create the board. The first day of school, the children can do an activity that you will place on the board. For example, cover a bulletin board with a red and white checkered table cloth. Write the heading "Cooking Up A Great School Year". Take a picture of each child in a chef's hat holding a mixing bowl. Have the child write on an index card their recipe for success. Then post the cards on the board.

3. Read Alouds

There are many read alouds to choose from for the first day back at school. One read aloud I loved is the book Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. It's a story about a young boy who helps an older lady who is losing her memory remember things she has done. After reading the story to the students, have each child bring in a box. It can be a shoe box, cereal box or anything they want. They need to have the box filled with 3 items that remind them of their summer. Then they are called to the front of the class to share their items and the memory it brings back to them of their summer. Currently on my website I am doing a giveaway and this is one of the books in the giveaway. Check it out and join the contest!

4. Ice Breakers

Plan activities for the first day of school that will get students working with each other and getting to know one another. A fun icebreaker is Two Lies and One Truth. In this activity, children write down on an index card two lies they make up about themselves and one truth. Have the children go around and read the three statements and classmates, and the teacher, have to guess which one is the true statement. Another fun icebreaker is People Finder. Create a grid of 3x3 squares. In each box place a fact. For example, I have 3 sisters or I went to my grandma's house over the summer. Fill all nine boxes. Make copies and hand out to the students. The children then walk around the room and ask other students if they fit into any of the boxes. If they do, they initial only one box. Then they continue around the room looking for people who can initial the other boxes. This is a fun icebreaker!

Spend the first day of school not only on the rules and procedures of your classroom, but also on getting to know your students and letting them get to know each other!

Lori Furgerson is a national literacy consultant who has provided technical assistance to school sites and professional development to teachers across the country. She has taught for 16 years in elementary school. Visit us at to receive a FREE 7 Day Video E-Course on how to be a successful teacher NOW!

Teacher Organization Tips

Make things in your classroom run smoothly by being organized in the classroom. Taking the time to set up your classroom organization will pay off in the end for you in spending less time on tasks. Here are some ways to get you organized.

Teacher Organization

Purchase some manila file folders and a file folder rack. Label folders with the days of the week. You may want to label two folders with the same day so you will have two folders labeled Monday, two labels Tuesday and so on, for a total of 10 folders.

Now here is what you need to do. On Thursdays, do your lesson plans for the following week. Go in earlier in the morning to do this or stay late after school on Thursday. Once your plans are created, go through each day and make the copies you will need and gather the material needed for the week. This means even the read alouds you will be doing.

Once all the material is copied and gathered, place them in the appropriate folders. For example, if you are reading The Kissing Hand on Thursday, place the actual book in the Thursday folder. Once you do that, all your material is ready to go for the following week.

Don't spend your weeknights at home or weekends in the classroom or working on school stuff! It takes some extra time, but if you are organized, do it all on Thursday and your whole next week is ready to go! This was key for me when I was in the classroom.

Student Work

Create an area that you can keep student's work all in one place and easy to access. If you don't have a filing cabinet, purchase a crate and get some hanging folders.

Label each folder with a child's name. Stay on top of filing their papers so you don't get behind.

Having student work in one place is great because if a parent comes in and wants to see their child's work, it is right there to show them. If teachers are getting together to look at data, your student work will be easily accessible.

Again, taking the time to plan and organize will save you a ton of time in the long run.

Student Data

Keeping track of how the children in your class are doing on assessments is very important. Giving assessments on a regular basis produces a lot of paperwork. Make sure you are organizing it into one spot. I recommend creating a data binder.

Divide your binder into sections based on the assessments. Behind the tabs include your spreadsheets. Don't' include the actual assessment because that will fill the binder up too much. Place the actual assessments in the files you created for each student.

Having all your data available in one spot makes it easily accessible when you need to analyze how your students are doing.

Take the time to get all of your paperwork in order and it will help your year run much smoother.

For more information and tips about being a successful teacher, visit us at

Three Effective Techniques To Adopt In Science Teacher Training

The creation of an educational system capable of preparing people to live in the changing world is one of the crucial tasks of modern society. The rapid move over recent decades to a global knowledge economy, driven by constantly evolving information and communication technologies has created significant economic and social opportunities. Equally, it is creating enormous challenges, confronting, countries with the need to rethink their educational and social systems.

To participate in this global knowledge economy and improve their standard of living, there is a need for students to leave school with a deeper understanding of school subjects and with the skills needed to respond to an unbounded but uncertain 21st century-skills, to use their knowledge, to think critically, to collaborate, to communicate, to solve problems, to create and to continue learning.

Science education in the 21st Century must be oriented to meet the challenges of covering the entire population in promoting scientific literacy. The science teacher is the hub in this endeavor and therefore, a thorough understanding of the nature of science is a pre-requisite in this educational process. The science teacher must therefore be exposed to techniques that will help him or her to impart knowledge effectively since In this era of information technology, the role of teachers is changing from providing information to organizing a learning process. The responsibility is on teacher education institutions to rethink how they can most effectively prepare future teachers to teach for success in complex, rapidly changing world.

The following are specific techniques which are directly relevant to the teaching of Science, Mathematics and Technology that can be incorporated in the training of science teachers.

1.Cooperative learning
Peer interaction in small group work has become an important area of research in education and the opportunities for dialogue found in these cooperative learning situations are thought to provide a meaningful context for students to connect their new experiences to prior knowledge. Group dialogue permits students to present their notions about the world and have them challenged. The challenges can lead to cognitive development as individuals realign their thinking as a result of having participated in the dialogue. Cooperative group work also serves to build peer relationships that foster learning. This technique can be an effective strategy in teacher education courses. Because by working in groups, sharing ideas, and making and tasting conjectures, prospective teachers gain confidence in their own ability to develop a variety of useful problem solving strategies.

2.Problem solving
Problem solving has become the central activity in reform curricula in Mathematics science and technology because of its ability to facilitate students' construction of meaning. This impacts on teacher education programmes because if learners are to have opportunities to explore problems, then the instructor has to be able to engage learners in problems in context, push learners' thinking while their exploration is proceeding, and create a classroom environment in which all learners feel empowered to learn.

3.Problem based learning
Problem based learning is a constructivist approach, which combines problem solving and group work. It emphasizes the use of real life problems or scenarios as a stimulus for learning. The students are divided into groups of up to ten and meet twice each week under the guidance of a tutor. The process of problem based learning involves presenting the students with a scenario or case, which relates to real life, as a departure point for the learning process. The students then brainstorm themes and questions - this process is designed to allow them to clarify their preconceptions about the topic and to identify their learning needs. This technique has been used in medical and other tertiary courses, but not widely implemented in teacher education.

Teacher training institutions should adopt these techniques in teacher education, if they are to train relevant Science educators for this 21st Century.

Teacher Ethical Conduct

Ethics is a collection of moral standards by which each person should be guided in their private and professional life. It tells us right from wrong, and how to live moral lives. The teaching profession, as many others, has its own code of ethics, which describes the process of grading students and teacher's behavior in the classroom as well as outside the premises of the institution. It is one of few professions that evaluates the totality of behavior of an individual and its potential influence on others, in this case - students. The following are some of the rules of conduct you should follow:

* If you do not know an answer, admit it. Do not bluff. At times, questions will arise that you will not be able to answer. Find the correct answer at the earliest opportunity; then provide the information to the class as soon as practical.
* Keep your remarks professional and appropriate to the classroom. Do not use profanity or obscenity. Use of profane or obscene language is one of the fastest ways to lose the respect of your students.
* Be patient. Be aware that not all people learn in the same way or at the same rate.
* Deal with frustration. While you may easily become frustrated with a person who is having difficulty with seemingly simple material, never allow your frustration to show. If all else fails, take a break to cool off, or consult with other teachers to find another approach to resolve the difficulty. Remember, in the majority of situations, students are sincerely trying to understand what is being taught. Your job is to find a way to help them.
* Maintain rapport with students. The use of sarcasm is another way to lose the respect of your students. Sarcasm, whether it is directed at one individual or the entire group, is never appropriate.
* Treat students with respect. All of the individuals you train should feel you have a sincere interest in their efforts to learn. Although your students will not have your knowledge or experience, you should think of them as being physically, mentally, and emotionally mature.

Ultimately, it is young people, with their personality and knowledge of the world still in the formative process, whose individual tendencies and characteristics are the most susceptible to and affected by any kind of negative influences. When discussing teacher's ethics, one must consider it on two separate plateaus.

Firstly, the legal one$2C or so to say, administrative, where all aspects of teacher's behavior, teaching procedures, and assessment of students are framed into a set of regulations drawn up by the Board of Education and by individual schools.

Secondly, at the personal level, which includes a teacher's own attitude and conduct that is not otherwise proscribed/prescribed by law or whose breach might never be detected or pursued in a grievance process. The teacher's code of ethics comprises his/her duties, responsibilities, attitude, honesty, and most of all - fairness.

What are the potential breaches of the teacher's code of ethics? This is a list of a few in no particular order.

* Having inappropriate relationships with students (sexual, business partnership, "after school buddies", drinking binges, etc)
* Violation of clearly stated school rules and educational procedures
* Failing to perform duties (no teaching, chaos, wrong attitude toward the teaching profession, etc)
* Imposing on students personal views unrelated to the subject of a lesson or promoting such, especially some that do not represent the main stream (extreme political or religious views, views on controversial social issues, interest of a particular social group, etc).
* Improper grading, partiality, and lack of fairness (based on who is liked, who is not; race, past performance, background, etc)
* Exposing students to embarrassment or disparagement (emotional or psychological harassment)
* Invading students' privacy
* Engaging students in unethical behavior
* Accepting gifts and favors, quid pro quo ("for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous")
* Deceiving students and their parents.

This list can go on, from violations of criminal laws, through commonly accepted standards of good and evil, violation of public trust, to unprofessional job performance. The areas of many of them may overlap; what constitutes a violation of public trust might as well be against the law and professionalism, but still within the teachings of morality.

The most common ethical problem that any teacher will face at some point in time is the bias-free assessment of students. Teachers are supposed to create a learning environment that fosters autonomy and guides students in their learning experience. An important part of their work is evaluation of students' knowledge and progress. Without such an assessment, one cannot determine if the learning is taking place. Moreover, this is one of the most problematic areas of the job.

However, what does a "to assess a student" mean? Teachers will apply a set of rules and predefined formulas to measure the amount of knowledge that has been successfully retained by students or perhaps they will check the understanding of a problem being considered. In multiple-choice tests or "yes or no" questions as well as many other similar tests calling for a single correct answer, the assessment of students' work seems relatively uncomplicated. The gray area begins to surface when teachers have to use their own judgment in the assessment process and contaminate the very process with subjectivity that they are bound to produce.

As much as people would like to eliminate injustices of this world and turn it into a better place, they will always have their own biases and prejudices, with which they will never be able to part. Teachers (fortunately or not) are human beings too and are no exception to this rule.

Laws and regulations may control human behavior or modify it if necessary, but they will never make people like one another. Does Johnny the Brat, who has just uttered his poignant remarks disparaging Mr. Mentor, deserve a good mark for his excellent knowledge of English grammar? Mr. Mentor is an experienced teacher. Should he or can he forget about this little incident while assessing little Johnny's work? What about a future assessment of Johnny?

One must remember that both students and teachers come to the classroom with their own sets of values, personalities, priorities, feelings, emotions, problems, experiences, knowledge, understanding, abilities, upbringing, likes and dislikes, moods, and hundreds of other elements, which when combined make up an individual as a whole.

Teachers may overrate or underrate students' performance based on a countless number of factors. They can do it deliberately, which beacons the possibility of ethical breach, or unaware, which may be a result of unfortunate circumstances or possible negligence.

The question before us is not how to eliminate unethical behavior, since this may never occur, but how to reduce it to a point where it is no longer a distortion of the accurate picture of Johnny's knowledge? How to create an environment where students and teachers are encouraged to learn and correct their flaws? How to educate teachers so they could restrain their negative personal feelings and concentrate on positive educational goals?

Randy Andes has over 25 years experience as a teacher, school administrator, and author in the government, corporate, and public sectors. He holds degrees in Business Administration and Education. More teaching excellence tools can be found at Teaching Excellence Today