What defines professionalism in Ontario educators
By Chantal Bélisle, OCT
Photo: Giant Vision Photography
Never would we have anticipated living though a global pandemic. Yet, here we are.
If we could make two observations about living through COVID-19 over the last few months, they would be that resilience is required and, as practitioners, we are resilient.
Many of you are returning to learning environments this fall in circumstances far different from those you left abruptly earlier this year. You are required to define a new "normal" from what was familiar not so long ago. The way you immersed yourself in new technologies within a very short time frame in order to interact with your students and colleagues, in and of itself, has been astonishing.
The changes in your respective environments brought about by COVID-19 demand that you consider new and different ways to connect with your students, their parents and guardians, your colleagues and your employer.
Change can be unnerving, yet it can also serve to motivate. How you respond is as much a lesson to your students as anything you'll draw from the curriculum. Students, too, need to appreciate the importance of adaptability and resiliency.
The College was also required to adapt and demonstrate its resilience. Deemed an essential service, we quickly transitioned to provide our services working remotely while maintaining our commitment to protect the public interest.
Professional members continue to promote our ethical standards of trust, respect, integrity and care. We identify values such as knowledge and skills that are distinctive to the teaching profession, including professionalism, honesty, accountability and transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, inclusivity and respect for diversity, respectfulness and teamwork.
In recent months, we've had to pivot to address changes in legislation that have affected licensing, we have published video-conferencing guidelines to assist practitioners, and we've established a program to help students who have been sexually abused. We have also altered our physical environment to protect our staff, visitors and Council members.
We've learned that each moment provides a new opportunity. What remains constant is our resilience and a reliance on each other, our adherence to our professional and ethical standards and a positive outlook that serves us — and the public we serve — come what may.