Woe to British teachers imbibing alcohol in their downtime. The General Teacher Council, a government regulatory body for state-school (in American-speak, public-school) teachers, has approved a new code of conduct for educators. Translation? No boozing and partying on the weekends. Geography teacher Brian Cookson complains that the new code is “practically demanding sainthood” from educators; over 10,000 of them agree, having now signed a petition against the code. Though the GTC has been able to reprimand, and in some cases remove from the classroom, its nearly 550,000 members for inappropriate behavior since its creation in 1998, the new code takes another look at appropriate behavior outside of school. But is the issue that teachers should be role models both in and out of the classroom or that the code intrudes into the private lives of British educators? The sides disagree. The GTC says that the code is intended to prevent egregious cases of misbehavior--most of which, it points out, would be illegal anyway and handled by law enforcement--not to prevent teachers from having a pint with their colleagues at the local pub. Teachers respond that they won’t be able to "let their hair down" on the weekends without risking their jobs. Bottom line, says the GTC, is that teachers should at least maintain "reasonable standards in their own behaviour" all seven days of the week. We’ll drink to that.

"Teachers moan that new code of conduct will stop them getting drunk at weekends," by Laura Clark, Daily Mail, September 4, 2009

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