28 - Tutoring and Conflict of Interest G...
28 - Tutoring and Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Members
Professional Relations staff in Protective Services receive many calls from members asking whether they can engage in private tutoring on their own time. Before engaging in private tutoring, however, you should know that ETFO has made public statements opposing the referral of students in publicly funded schools to private education providers. ETFO believes that every student in the public system should have access to the resources, services, and support needed to experience success.
Although ETFO does not support privately funded tutoring, members are legally able to engage in tutoring on their own time. It is important that members familiarize themselves with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation policy on tutoring which requires adherence to the following two rules: First, in engaging in private tutoring, the teacher must not tutor their own students for remuneration. Second, if the teacher accepts a student for tutoring, the teacher should consult the student’s regular teacher. In any private tutoring arrangement, the teacher will be in violation of the Code of Ethics if he or she makes adverse comments about the student’s regular teacher, or if the teacher interferes in an unwarranted manner between the student and the student’s regular teacher.
Teachers are also bound by the Professional Misconduct Regulation 437/97 under the Ontario College of Teachers Act. Section 26 states that a teacher is guilty of professional misconduct when practising the profession while in a conflict of interest. While the Regulation does not define what constitutes a conflict of interest, arbitrators and courts have frequently commented on this issue in the context of assessing disciplinary penalties imposed on employees who place themselves in a conflict of interest. Public servants, such as teachers, are held to higher standards than other employees in conflict of interest situations.
Teachers, in particular, are regarded as influential role models and moral leaders in the community, and are held to high standards of conduct both on and off the job. Inappropriate conduct on their part has the potential to destroy the trust and confidence the community places in them and the public education system. For these reasons, teachers must act more scrupulously than most to avoid being in a conflict of interest situation.
Teachers should be guided by the following rules which have been held to apply to public servants:
Some school boards have policies on tutoring and if a teacher breaches the policy, they may be disciplined and/or reported to the College of Teachers. Here are some specific guidelines which should be considered before engaging in tutoring:
Members are advised to consult Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836 for additional advice if concerned about a possible conflict of interest.