Today’s post is not the usual outfit ideas one, today I’m going to be discussing The Ontario College of Teachers (The College for the rest of this post) and why certification is important for teachers. As a parent with children attending a publicly funded school this is a very important subject to me. Teachers who work in publicly funded schools in Ontario must be certified to teach in the province and be members of The College. The College sets ethical standards of practice, issues teaching certificates, accredits teacher education programs and courses, and investigates and hears complaints about their members.
Teacher certification ensures the technical competence of teachers through a tangible measurement of skills and knowledge. The purpose of any professional certification is to provide official and public recognition of an individual’s competencies and capabilities in a professional subject area. The College is the only self-regulatory body for teachers in Canada with 239,000 members.
What are the objectives of certification?
- To raise professional standards by giving special recognition by their peers to those who, fulfilling prescribed standards of performance and conduct, have demonstrated and maintained a high level of competence and ethical practices.
- To acknowledge teachers’ qualifications and credentials to employers and the public
- To establish a program with the goal of continuous improvement for individuals and professional development.
- To clarify the skills, knowledge and standards of conduct.
Certification goes beyond training by providing an objective measurement of a teacher’s knowledge and skills. Certification programs establish standards for teacher education and play an important role in developing a qualified workforce. Children, parents, teachers and the province all benefit from certification. The College is accountable to the public for how it carries out its responsibilities.
The College has created a public register, – “Find A Teacher” – where you may search for anyone who has been certified to teach in Ontario’s publicly funded schools. Type in the name of your child’s teacher and you are automatically given the following information:
- - A teacher’s qualifications
- - The date of initial certification
- - Status with the College
- - Disciplinary history, if applicable
Please note that you won’t be given a teacher’s home address of other contact information or their employment history, furthermore, deceased teachers are not searchable. The College made this information available to the public, as defined by Section 23 or the Ontario College of Teachers Act and College bylaws. This is just another reason why certification makes sense – transparency and accountability of all parties.
The College supports teaching excellence by awarding scholarships to individuals in their final year of a teaching education program. The program identifies exemplary role models and pays direct financial assistance to those with passion for and dedication to the highest ideals of teaching.
Members of the College are as committed to learning as they are to teaching. Ongoing professional learning is an integral part of teaching. The profession’s standards reflect the expectation that all members will participate in ongoing learning. Adding to professional knowledge enhances teaching practice, which improves student learning.
The regulated system of Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQs) and Additional Qualifications (AQs) is one form of professional learning. ABQs/AQs are set out in legislation, accredited by the College, offered by providers approved by the College and, when successfully completed, recorded on the member’s Certificate of Qualification and Registration. The College is committed to encouraging accessibility to these courses because of the unique educational value they offer to College members. The additional qualifications listed on a teacher’s Certificate of Qualification and Registration are one way of demonstrating their dedication to teaching and to providing their students with the best education possible.
The College reviews and approves hundreds of Additional Qualification courses. These courses keep teachers current and prepare them to teach in diverse communities including those from English, French, First Nations, Métis and Inuit heritages. Accreditation helps to ensure the programs and courses that prepare teachers are based on the profession’s ethical and practice standards. The College also produces publications (“Professionally Speaking” is the College’s quarterly magazine and The Standard, an e-newsletter) and videos on many topics like social media, the state of employment in teaching and professional development in the 21st century.
The College’s professional advisories provide valuable direction and advice about issues that matter to teaching professionals. Advisories apply to all college members, including teachers, consultants, vice-principals, principals, supervisory officers and directors of education.
I am a firm believer in certification, it is a cornerstone to the College’s ability to keep its members current and thriving in the everchanging field of Education. In my opinion it offers the opportunity to increase one’s skill set, learn from peers and become a stakeholder in one’s own success and the success of one’s students. A strong education system is the cornerstone for any thriving community and partnership between students, teachers and parents is the key to success.
To read my previous post about The Ontario College of teachers please click here. This is a sponsored post, all opinions in this post are my own and I am an advocate for a strong public school system with all stakeholders having a seat at the table.