Teacher Code of Conduct
As members of a professional society, the Canadian Society of Teachers of the F. M. Alexander Technique (CANSTAT), we have set down these ethical guidelines to represent our common standards of professional conduct. This list is by no means exhaustive, and in due course it may be added to, modified, or reformulated to more accurately represent the consensus of the Society.
As members of CANSTAT, we accept that the final responsibility for choosing appropriate behaviour in any circumstance remains with the individual member, whether or not that circumstance is clearly covered by specific guidelines. Any act or behaviour that, by commission or omission, disgraces or dishonours an individual member, the membership at large, or the profession is considered a breach of professional conduct. In these guidelines we address those areas of professional conduct of most immediate concern to teacher and pupil.
These guidelines do not limit the freedom of CANSTAT members to pursue individual paths of inquiry and advanced study, develop ideas and express opinions, or experiment or work outside an ordinary teaching practice. Instead, they present a practical model of professional conduct to be used in the ordinary day-to-day teaching practice of a teacher with private pupils. These guidelines serve to inform the teacher, the pupil, the profession, and the community of actions and behaviours that might call into question the ethics, conduct, or intentions of a teacher and defame or undermine the reputation and integrity of the Alexander Technique, CANSTAT, or the professional community at large.
These guidelines, then, represent a consensus of standards and values to which CANSTAT members subscribe, and act as a model of ethical practices for teachers within and without the Society, and against which the conduct of a CANSTAT member will be compared, if a question arises.
A. The Teacher–Pupil Relationship
A member has a clear understanding of the professional protocol and decorum prevailing in private lessons and group classes, and uses this knowledge to maintain a strictly professional relationship with pupils.
A member clearly states policies regarding payment, cancellation, lateness, appropriate apparel, etc., and changes them only with fair notice to the pupil.
No member uses the lesson time as a pretext for seducing the pupil or engaging in any sexual activity. A member does not enter into a sexual relationship with a pupil, nor an emotional relationship that compromises the effective transmission of the principles of the Alexander Technique or that disrupts or damages the pupil's family life.
A member who teaches on a training course, regularly or occasionally, does not seduce a trainee, does not enter into a sexual relationship with a trainee, and does not enter into an emotional relationship with a trainee that compromises the fiduciary teacher–trainee relationship.
A member requires of the private pupil no special form of dress or undress other than nonrestrictive clothing, and does not require or ask for the adjustment or removal of clothing that might make the pupil feel uncomfortable or uncertain of the teacher's intention. If the pupil is wearing an excessively bulky garment, the member may ask for its removal provided there is adequate street wear underneath. If special dress or disrobing is necessary for a special project such as a scientific, medical, or academic study or workshop, this is clearly communicated to the participants well before the start of the session, preferably in writing.
No member uses the lesson or the authority of the teaching position to influence the pupil on matters outside the domain of the Alexander Technique, for gaining privileged information outside the concern of the work, or for extracting gifts, favours, or financial gain beyond the normal business transacted in a lesson.
A member always uses discretion with any information gained from a pupil, treats the pupil's privacy with confidentiality, and preserves the pupil's anonymity if discussing aspects of the pupil's work with others.
B. The Teacher–Colleague Relationship
A member treats all colleagues with the respect and fairness with which the member would wish to be treated.
A member expresses differences of professional opinion without personally attacking other teachers and without criticizing their work in a way that might undermine the public’s confidence in the profession or that might reflect badly on the Alexander Technique.
A member takes care not to start any unfounded rumour or hearsay that might damage the reputation of another member or teacher.
A member may speak directly to another member or teacher about ethically suspect behaviour, if appropriate, before taking the issue further.
A member reports only clear evidence of serious ethical misconduct to CANSTAT. Such evidence may consist of:
direct personal experience,
clear first-hand testimony, or
a substantial body of second-hand testimony.