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From The Chair and Deputy Registrar

Our Ethical Standards Guide Us

By Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, and Chantal Bélisle, OCT
Photos: (Nicole, left) Matthew Plexman; (Chantal, right) GiantVision Photography

Photo of College Chair Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, and College Deputy Registrar Chantal Bélisle, OCT, smiling.

Over these past few months, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. We have been glued to the news and concerned for our loved ones as we adapt to the changes the global pandemic has brought to our homes, schools, workplaces and to learning itself.

We have been confined. Families have been separated. We miss our students and colleagues. Borders have been shut and instability roils the economy.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed.

We've seen the panic buying and hoarding, but we've also seen kindness, care and compassion here and around the world. We might feel scared, but we also know it is time for exceptional ethical conduct — something teachers routinely exemplify.

Ontario's teaching profession has always been guided by our ethical standards of care, trust, respect and integrity. This is more important now than ever.

We've all heard stories of how we've been taking care of each other. From simple phone calls, texts and video chats to check-ins and running errands for those who cannot go out. Our stories of care, compassion, collegiality and friendship are what makes us strong during these uncertain times.

The ethical standards of our profession are vital in the context of the work you do for your students. Today, these values are also life-affirming as people all over the world change their behaviour to protect others. We are being asked to respect distancing measures. We trust our government and health officials to make decisions for the public well-being. We trust each other to behave responsibly.

From the service provided by health-care workers to random acts of kindness within communities, we're seeing integrity in action to help individuals in need. There are so many examples of people helping one another. Let's talk about those. We recognize the teacher playing guitar for her students, the school community celebrating students' birthdays via tweets, and the continued connections among colleagues sharing resources on all platforms.

Spread the word on how you or someone you know is making a difference. We would love to hear more by tagging the College on Twitter @OCT_OEEO, Instagram @oct_oeeo, and Facebook @OntarioTeachers.

Please continue to take good care of you and yours. We will get through this together.

Nicole van Woudenberg's handwritten signature.
Chantal Bélisle's handwritten signature.