It is human to err. However, when an individual is in a socially responsible position and is in favour of succumbing to the temptations of life that hinders functioning in the role of an educator efficiently, then sacrificing the role would be the best alternative available as such a reckless act or behaviour would leave a blemish that would be hard to erase from the memory of the public. Recently media has been getting a kick out of sensationalising student-teacher relationships, even one that has occurred twenty years ago, either with the honourable intention of representing the facts or truth to the general public or out of desperation as they lack interesting scoops. It is not novel to see the media leap at every chance they get to splash some dirt in the face of the public education system when they could find skeletons tumbling out of the closet of private schools effortlessly where atrocities of all sorts are covered up with whatever influence it takes.
Having said that, I am not shirking the responsibilities associated with educators – casual, temporary or permanent. Being an educator, who has spent a decade in a government institution that is perceived as one of the challenging secondary schools in Sydney, I can guarantee the parents and communities out there that most of us are married to the laws and policies of the Department of Education and Communities and are strict disciplinarians both in our personal and professional lives. It is very unfortunate that a few transgressors have encouraged the public to think otherwise. I impart education of the law, NSW Code of Conduct, to my students so that they are aware of the legal implications whenever professional relationship between students and teachers are under threat. As an English Teacher, I use newspaper reports as a text-type and chose at least one such report or a YouTube video related to the topic every year as a medium to enlighten the students (Stages 5 & 6) about their roles and responsibilities in maintaining professional relationships.
While it is impossible to attain perfection with the running and administration of any system, NSW DEC Child Protection policies render such illegal relationships as not only scandalous but also as unpardonable criminal offence. If there are any educators out there who are, voluntarily or involuntarily, tied in such dishonourable relationships and have not been exposed, I would suggest considering leaving the workforce immediately. If their affairs make it to the headlines of leading newspapers, the integrity and credibility attached to the teaching profession will be seriously questioned and interfere with our major responsibility, which is to shape the citizens of tomorrow. I have uploaded a screen cap of the law, which had been published in the Daily Telegraph in 2014 under the news item titled “Husband reported wife teacher for sex with student”, for those educators who are labouring under illusions.