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June 1998

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Looking Back on a Memorable First Year

The College has come a long way in one short year. Many thanks to the hundreds of teachers who have volunteered their time and expertise to help the College accomplish so much.

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By Donna Marie Kennedy

The Ontario College of Teachers is just one year old, but much has been accomplished already, with much still to do in the coming months. The annual report highlights contained in this issue of Professionally Speaking outlines work done by each of the committees of Council, which have accomplished an incredible amount of work.

Members of Council are to be commended for their efforts, since all their work is voluntary and each member has personal and professional responsibilities outside the demands of the College. I am sure the members of Council did not fully realize the time and energy that would be required during their first year.

We have debated many issues at the Council table. Some have been dealt with quickly, while others have been highly contentious and the discussions have, on occasion, been heated. As a result, the decisions taken by Council and the directions pursued by the College have received both kudos and criticism. Nonetheless, the resolutions have been in the best interest of both the public and the profession.

Members of the College can take pride in knowing that Council worked vigorously to have four clauses removed from Bill 160 – clauses that would have paved the way for unqualified instructors in Ontario’s classrooms. It is to the College’s credit that in this, its first year, it was able to persuade the government of the importance of having qualified professionals teaching our children.


Naturally, some people believe the College is moving too slowly, while others feel it is moving too quickly. That is to be expected in a College composed of 165,000 members. Some criticism has been warranted and staff have moved quickly to address these areas. In other cases, committees have studied the issues and made recommendations to Council, and our policies will continue to evolve over the years to come.

It is important that members of the College continue to correspond and express their views. It’s always interesting and helpful to learn more about the broad range of views that teachers hold on so many professional issues.

We realize, as well, that not every member of the College, or everyone who applies for teacher certification, is going to be happy with all the rules or decisions of the College. But that is part of being a professional licensing body with the mandate to regulate teaching in the public interest.


The College and members of Council are committed to the teaching profession and the excellence we are all striving to achieve. We will continue to communicate openly and professionally with educators across Ontario and elsewhere.

There are many people to thank at the end of this first year. Obviously, Council’s commitment of both time and energy has been remarkable. College staff have had to establish the College, responding in a most professional way to each new challenge.

And finally to the hundreds of teachers who have volunteered to serve on committees, contribute your expertise, experience and time in the area of standards of practice and accreditation, or write articles for Professionally Speaking/Pour parler profession, I say, thank you. Each one of you has helped to make this year a memorable one.