The First Decade: 10 Years, 10 Accomplishments
The First Decade: 10 Years, 10 Teachers
Male Presence in Teaching Continues to Decline
by Brian Jamieson
Where Was That Line?
by Joe Jamieson
Ethical standards and standards of practice
The ethical and teaching practice standards have become foundations of the profession. They articulate the goals and aspirations of a teaching profession dedicated to fostering student learning and preparing Ontario students to participate in a democratic society.
The College started developing the standards in 1997, the first time we used the approach that has become a defining feature of the College – consultation with members, education partners and the public.
By the time the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession went to Council for approval – in 1999 and 2000 – thousands of people had been involved in workshops and consultations, providing feedback and validation of the two documents. The process was repeated with even more members taking part five years later when the standards were reviewed and revised.
The standards are now central to professional practice and teacher education.
Teacher supply and demand
Soon after its creation, the College played a pivotal role in defining the scope and magnitude of a looming teacher shortage. We helped to shape the story, encouraged dialogue across the education sector and recommended solutions.
In December 1998 the Professionally Speaking cover story was Crisis Ahead as Teacher Shortage Looms. That article, and the subsequent news coverage, sparked government action. The resulting task force made 36 recommendations on everything from teacher education and data management to incentives. The College produced a brochure to help recruit teachers and began to promote teaching at provincial employment fairs.
In 1998 the government was funding about 5,000 spaces annually to teach new teachers in the consecutive program at Ontario faculties of education. The College recommended the government add 40 per cent. By 2003, the government achieved this goal and was providing funding for about 7,000 spaces every year.
After consulting our partners in 2001, Council made more recommendations to the government on everything from teacher education incentives to support for new teachers.
New teacher induction
In 2002 new teachers began to report some disturbing trends in the College's annual Transition to Teaching study. Many said they received the toughest assignments and little on-site support.
The College consulted widely and then called for a man-datory two-year induction support system, including mentoring, in every publicly funded school board.
Late in 2005 the government announced a New Teacher Induction Program, following many of the College's recommendations. Today, new teachers are guaranteed on-the-job support as they begin their careers in publicly funded schools.
Last December, the College released fifth-year results from the Transition to Teaching study, once again signalling significant trends in the supply of teachers.
Internationally educated teachers
In 10 years the College has granted licences to teachers from more than 100 countries. In 2006 alone, the College evaluated the teaching qualifications of close to 4,000 applicants who received their teacher education outside Ontario. More than 90 per cent received their licences.
The College provides help, including meeting with individual applicants, writing to institutions to acquire documents, consulting with embassies and foreign governments and universities, conducting research on education systems around the world, meeting with community agencies and holding regular sessions to explain how to apply, how to obtain documents, what to do if certification is denied, how to convert interim certificates and how to apply for jobs.
The College joined forces with the Ontario Teachers' Federation and immigrant settlement groups in 2004 to create Teach in Ontario, a project funded by the Ontario government. It helps internationally educated teachers to meet language proficiency and other requirements, to get acquainted with Ontario classrooms and to find teaching jobs.
Between 2004 and 2007 the College certified more than 10,200 internationally educated teachers.
Professional advisory on sexual misconduct
In 2002 the Council approved the first professional advisory, Professional Misconduct Related to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct. The advisory was designed to help College members identify the legal, ethical and professional parameters that govern their behaviour and to prevent the sexual abuse of students and sexual misconduct.
After the conviction of a former Sault Ste. Marie teacher for sexually assaulting 13 female students over 21 years, the Ontario government appointed former judge Sydney L. Robins to conduct a review.
Robins's final report, published in April 2000, made 101 recommendations regarding protocols, policies and procedures to identify and prevent sexual assault, harassment and violence.
In answer, the College involved members in creating the advisory, which became the centrepiece of an extensive media campaign to assure the public that the teaching profession is dealing effectively with professional misconduct.
In 1999 the College began working with Ontario faculties of education to develop the accreditation regulation. The College accredited the first initial teacher education program in 2003. Today, 17 faculties of education provide 46 College-accredited programs. Every year the College accredits more than 400 Additional Qualification programs and courses offered by 31 providers, making sure all meet the requirements set out in legislation.
Accreditation assures the public and the members of the profession that teacher education programs and Additional Qualifications courses continue to be refined and improved.
Reviewing teachers' qualifications
In 2004 the College began a two-year review of teachers' qualifications, engaging education stakeholders around the province in an intensive examination of existing teacher education qualifications, some of which had not been reviewed in 25 years.
The wide-ranging nature of the review provided the College with a consensus on what recommendations to make to government. The process strengthened the partnership among education stakeholders on issues where interests may vary but the objective of a high-quality teaching profession is the same.
The entire sector participated in the development of Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow, helping to shape what teachers will be taught in the years to come so that they meet the challenges of Ontario education over the coming years.
The public register was an important first-year initiative in the College's efforts to highlight the professionalism of Ontario teachers.
The law establishing the College listed what information was to be public: name, registration number, degrees, qualifications, any limits to the certificate and notice of a cancellation or suspension. It may also include findings of a hearing by the College's discipline or fitness to practise committees.
By 2000 the register was online, providing employers, faculties, members and the public with access, regardless of where they were located in the province.
Today, members of the public can go to the College web site and use Find a Teacher to see if someone is a certified Ontario teacher. Find a Teacher receives more than 60,000 visits a month.
In 1997 the College weathered an early threat to the mandate to certify teachers and determine their qualifications. The Ontario government, in the Education Quality Improvement Act, included four clauses that set up two classes of teachers – College certified teachers and another group of instructors who would not be qualified members of the College but could be placed in sole charge of a classroom.
College representatives appeared before a legislative committee, arguing that the proposed law would undermine public accountability by creating two classes of teachers, those required to belong to the College and subject to standards of practice and professional conduct, and those who were ineligible for membership and not accountable for their conduct or teaching practice.
The government withdrew the four clauses.
Ten years ago, it was often difficult for a teacher to move and find a teaching job in another province or territory. That's changing.
In 1999 Canada's education ministers signed a labour mobility agreement-in-principle. Since then, the College has been working with other bodies that regulate teaching in Canada to make it possible for any teacher certified in one province or territory to have access to certification, and jobs, throughout the country.
The College has implemented a range of initiatives that allow teachers certified in other provinces or territories to teach in Ontario while they add to their qualifications.