Letters to the Editor

Professionally Speaking welcomes letters and articles on topics of interest to teachers. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and to conform to our publication style. To be considered for publication, letters must provide the writer’s daytime phone number. Address letters to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking at ps@oct.ca or 121 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON M4W 3M5.

Access and rankings

Open Ontario

I totally disagree with Doug Saunders (Letters, March 2009), who proposes that available teaching positions should first be filled with Ontario-educated teachers. His position contradicts Canadian values and the right to equal employment opportunities under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Shopping locally” does no good for the people of Ontario in today’s globalized economy. Consider that if people in the US bought only American-made cars, more than 80 per cent of Ontario’s auto-sector jobs would disappear.

It is also irresponsible to imply that only the tax dollars of Canadian-born families pay teachers’ salaries. More than 90 per cent of my students are children of tax-paying immigrants, as are my own two children. Many of my colleagues would not have teaching jobs without the children of immigrants. Furthermore, as an internationally-educated teacher – educated and trained in India – I didn’t use any Canadian taxpayers’ dollars for my education.

The College’s surveys in past years have shown that the success rate of internationally-educated teachers securing full-time employment is much lower (almost 50 per cent lower in some cases) than that of Canadian-trained teachers. For an Ontario teacher to suggest employment for Ontario-trained teachers only – and more importantly to publish such views in Professionally Speaking – is totally unfair.

The Ontario College of Teachers is fulfilling its mandate of providing equal access to licensing for all teachers as required by the constitution.

Sukhwinder Buall, OCT, is the Vice-Principal at Gracedale Public School in the Toronto DSB.

Character conflict

I find it rather ironic that while Professionally Speaking is lauding the successes of the character-development programs in many of our schools (In Character, December 2009) a Queen’s University research paper, done in conjunction with the World Health Organization, ranks Canadian and Ontario students among the worst in the world for involvement in bullying-related issues (Toronto Star, November 19, 2009). Canada came 36th out of 40 countries.

The two reports don’t seem to match, do they?

Bryan Smillie, OCT, is a semi-retired teacher and counsellor, now working in private practice. He taught in the York Region DSB.


Many of my friends are professionals in the business world, but they don’t write/tell their professional designation every time they communicate with others. I am wondering who at the Ontario College of Teachers is promoting the use of OCT?

My professionalism is demonstrated every day in the way I teach – keeping on top of my subject discipline with the most up-to-date research and teaching methods and acting with integrity – not by including the OCT letters behind my name. My four-year honours degree in physical education (BPHE) on my e-mail shows people that I am qualified and educated in my area, which I show them and the kids I teach daily!

When I spoke with my friends, who are lawyers, engineers and accountants, they said they were not introduced or written about using designations but on the work they have done in their fields or what they have accomplished at their companies.

Ann Fenton, OCT, BPHE, BEd, teaches Primary physical education (JK–3) at Montgomery Village PS in Orangeville.