College will Honour Teachers
Knowledge and Expertise
will see your Council working actively with
teachers - respecting their knowledge, honouring
their expertise, honouring what they are - while
at the same time setting professional standards
and dealing with the ethical issues that protect
the public. To put it simply, were planning
from the very beginning to ask teachers to assess
the programs theyre subjected to.
read this, the Ontario College of Teachers will
finally be "real".
been a long and sometimes difficult process, but
the College has now assumed responsibility for
the register of Ontarios 165,000 teachers.
More than 5,000 young teachers are graduating
this month from Ontarios faculties of
education and College staff are already busy
registering our first new members.
of our first Governing Council are working hard
to familiarize themselves with the issues and to
get started with their work. We all know we have
a big job ahead of us.
to thousands of teachers in the past couple of
years. The sense that one gets in talking to them
is that teachers believe there is little public
honour in our profession anymore. Everything the
public and media think is wrong in the school
system is laid at teachers feet, when very
often they have no control over the situation and
have totally inadequate resources to do their
its important that as we establish
standards of practice, as we deal with discipline
issues and build a framework for lifelong
learning, we do it in a way that raises
its critical that teachers see our
framework for lifelong learning as something very
different from whats happened in the past.
seen a pattern in Ontario for well over 30 years
where major policy decisions are made in
education and nothing is put in place to assist
the people who have to deliver that policy.
Destreaming of Grade 9 was one example; another
one was whole language.
changes that required radically different methods
- and teachers received no help. Our Council is
going to have to be prepared to say,
"Minister, if you want to do that, this is
what it will to take to make it work".
could, the College has structured our committees
so that the natural thing for them to do is talk
to teachers in the field about standards of
practice, about the kinds of professional
learning that they need, and their views on the
quality of whats available for professional
To put it
simply, were planning from the very
beginning to ask teachers to assess the programs
theyre subjected to.
Many of you
will know Joe Atkinson, who has joined the
College from OPSTF to head up our Professional
Affairs department. Joe and all his staff are
deeply committed to listening to teachers and
working co-operatively to develop and accredit
life-long learning programs for our members.
One of the
approaches we will be able to take - because we
have the mandate to do it - is to say to
teachers, "Heres the curriculum, here
are the standards weve developed together,
here are the ministry and board policies. Now,
what do you need to help you to deliver better,
or change your techniques if its a change
in methodology thats required?"
see your Council working actively with teachers -
respecting their knowledge, using their
expertise, honouring what they are - while at the
same time setting professional standards and
dealing with the ethical issues that protect the
very aware that self-regulation is a privilege.
Its granted on condition that the
profession understands that the primary purpose
of self-regulation is to maintain our standards,
improve the education of our members - and do so
in the public interest.
must know who we serve. But we also need to
recognize the important part we can play in
sustaining the profession while we serve the
public. The job of restoring teachers
standing in our communities has to begin with
teachers - working together - recognizing and
reporting the things we do well. All of the
members of your Governing Council, elected and
appointed, look forward to joining with you in
the work of the College.