From the Chair

Excelling in many different worlds

College Council is sensitive to the concerns of unemployed members.  

by Liz Papadopoulos, OCT

Jim Curran, OCT, CBC Radio traffic reporter. Lorna Novosel, OCT, speech-language pathologist. Dominic Giroux, OCT, university president. What do these people have in common?

The fields may vary, but all share a love for and a background in teaching – and membership in the Ontario College of Teachers. These teachers and others were featured in Careers Beyond the Classroom in the September issue of this magazine.

Not everyone who is registered with the College is currently teaching. Many members are pursuing other interests and careers but still make it a priority to maintain ties with the profession.

We are proud of these teachers who are working in other fields. They are an important part of our membership who transferred the abilities they developed as teachers – people skills, communications, training and facilitating – to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

In the same way, any person who chose teaching as a second career brings a wealth of different skills and experiences into the classroom. Ontario Certified Teachers (OCTs) who take their skills and knowledge into the private sector, for example, can find success.

They definitely help promote the teaching profession because they show their colleagues what we are all about: team players, counsellors and problem solvers.

Deep down, what do we all have in common?

A strong work ethic, unbeatable stamina, superior organizational skills and an ability to inspire others to perform to high standards.

And nerves of steel.

Our profession helps us obtain the knowledge and skills in many areas necessary to be successful in various fields – whether as journalists or policy research analysts or by training employees, managing educational tours or giving presentations.

We have the ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing. We successfully manage our time. We possess logical thinking and an ability to find alternate solutions to problems. We work with and understand those around us.

Many members make it a priority to maintain ties with the profession.

And we sure know how to take the tension out of tight situations.

If many OCTs are pursuing fascinating livelihoods outside teaching, others are finding it difficult to find work.

Our Transition to Teaching study indicates that a growing number of English-speaking teachers are underemployed, as there are now roughly 7,000 more certified teachers entering the profession each year than there are retirement spots to fill. The market is competitive.

Our study also shows that Ontario’s new teachers increasingly rely on occasional teaching assignments as their introduction to the profession.

What it means is that it takes longer for new graduates from our Ontario education faculties to establish careers. And it’s worse for those moving into Ontario from elsewhere to start or resume their teaching careers.

From time to time, they share their concerns with us. They are qualified, determined to land that first full-time teaching job and eager to contribute their skills and knowledge to Ontario schools so that they too can start making a difference in their students’ learning.

College Council is sensitive to challenges that new teachers face when looking for employment. Although the College’s mandate doesn’t extend to the teacher hiring process, we understand our members’ concerns about the difficulties they face in this declining job market.

The College cares about their needs, highlights their concerns and finds ways to keep them involved in the teaching profession through College activities, research and outreach initiatives.

Council makes sure to also have their views, hopes and needs in mind in our decision making and in our discussions with education leaders, policy-makers and members of the public.

by Liz Papadopoulos, OCT