The well-being of students is central to all that we do.
By Michael Salvatori, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman
As I was doing some fall cleaning, I came across a file with some of my teaching materials from the early 1990s, when I began my career. Among the contents were some of my planning daybooks. After a brief trip down memory lane, which showed an evolution in my practice, I came across another artifact, my Ontario Teaching Certificate issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
Before the Ontario College of Teachers was established in 1996, teacher certification was the responsibility of the Ministry. In most Canadian jurisdictions, regulation of the profession including teacher certification remains the responsibility of the provincial or territorial Ministry of Education.
The only other self-regulatory body for the teaching profession in Canada is the Saskatchewan Professional Teachers Regulatory Board (SPTRB). Established in 2015, the SPTRB, like our College, is governed by a council comprised of elected members of the profession and members appointed by the government to protect the public interest. Similar to our organization, the Saskatchewan board is responsible for establishing standards, certifying teachers and resolving complaints.
The international landscape of the regulation of the profession is also varied. In many jurisdictions such as Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, professional regulatory bodies such as ours exist and have long histories.
Among our international colleagues, there is an emerging trend toward workforce councils rather than general teaching councils. The difference is that an Education Workforce Council, such as the one in Wales, regulates not only teachers but other professionals working with students in schools. These professionals include learning support staff as well as youth workers and individuals involved in work-based learning.
As I consider the various models of regulation of the profession and the emerging trends, I look not at the differences but at our common interest. At the heart of our collective work are the students, their well-being, safety and opportunities for learning, development and growth. The continued dialogue among our national and international partners will continue to enhance our own capacity to inspire public confidence in our work.