I’m doing something different today. I was approached by the Ontario College of Teachers (or The College) to discuss their role in the Ontario public school system. To be honest I had no idea what The College did or who they were. As I talked to some other parents I found I was not alone. As a mother I want my children to have the best education Ontario has to offer. After reading all the available material they had on their website I think The College is a partner that will help my children succeed. In this post I wanted to share some of my key takeaways and let parents know how The College wants to work with them. If you have a child in the Ontario public school system this article is an important read for you.
I don’t think it would be presumptuous of me to say that a common worry for all parents is our children’s education. It starts from the moment they walk into school. We all want our children to succeed and get the best education that they can. In Ontario parents don’t need to feel alone when navigating the education system. The College is there to work with parents and for students. The College exists for the benefit of our children with an evolving mandate that changes with the educational and public interest needs of Ontario. I am surrounded by teachers – not because I have four children and am always at their school. My brother-in-law is a teacher as are two of my children’s godmother’s. As teachers they put the needs of their students first and are always striving to improve their skill set. The College is integral for everyone’s success: the teachers, the schools, our children and society as a whole.
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 and standards of practice, issues teaching certificates and may suspend or revoke them, accredits teacher education programs and courses and investigates and hears complaints about members. What many parents may not know is that The College is accountable to the public for how it carries out its responsibilities. It is not beholden to unions, ministries or school boards. It is governed by a 37 member council with 14 members appointed by the provincial government and 23 elected by their peers. Council meets at least four times a year and meetings are open to the public. Transparency and public trust – our trust – is key in the success of self-regulation for The College.
An Ontario teaching certificate is a license to teach in Ontario. Only qualified teaching professionals who have been certified and remain in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers can use the abbreviation OCT – Ontario Certified Teacher – next to their name. OCTs possess the academic and experience credentials expected of teachers in our publicly funded schools. The OCT designation ensures highly qualified teachers teach our children and these teachers have the knowledge and kills to help our children learn, achieve and succeed in their academic careers.
The College prepares teachers with 50 full- and part-time teacher education programs in 18 university faculties of education in Ontario. A teacher’s education does not end once they have become certified. There are a combined total of 40,000 additional qualification courses taken by teachers a year. These courses prepare teachers for the demands of today’s classrooms and to teach in diverse and multicultural communities. Furthermore, The College issues professional advisories to guide and advise its members about topics that are important to the teaching profession. One of the best examples of this is a recent advisory that counselled teachers on how best to use electronic communication and social media. As our tech world evolves teachers are on the forefront of that change.
The Ontario College of Teachers is there for us – parents, the public and most importantly their students, our children. The College is setting the standard for great teaching by regulating teaching in Ontario through licensing our teachers, setting high professional and ethical standards and approving teacher education programs. Their website, www.oct.ca, can answer any further questions you may have or point you in the right direction. While I don’t expect parents to stop worrying about their children and education what I hope they learn is that they are not alone. It takes a village to raise a child and The College is a big part of our village.
*Please note this is a sponsored post. This article was written solely by me and are my own thoughts and opinions. I only work with organizations I feel strongly about.