Vibrancy. Vigour. Vim.

Perhaps not the veni, vidi, vici of Caesar or, for those of you old enough, of memory work in our Latin classes, but nonetheless three evocative words. For me, they represent what our members bring to the teaching profession.

As teachers, we contribute to that vibrancy through our personal commitments to ongoing learning, by honing our skills and refining our craft. Vibrancy as currency, as a dynamic, is central to the teaching and learning cycle. Professional development informs teaching and student learning propels the teacher’s interest in ongoing professional development.

When I present to teacher candidates with the Chair of our College Council, we are always impressed by the fervent interest that these newest members of the profession have in opportunities for learning beyond their initial teacher education program. Among the first questions teacher candidates pose are queries about Additional Qualification courses, followed by “When can we start?”

I am struck by the question for two reasons. First, the energy and enthusiasm for learning, for ongoing development among beginning teachers who are in the midst of an intense initial orientation to the profession itself, is admirable and inspiring. Second, it reminds me that ongoing professional learning, one of the College’s standards of practice, truly reflects what it means to be a teacher in Ontario.

It is an aspiration, yes, but it is also a reality. Our commitment to students and their learning is evidenced in part by our commitment to our own continual learning. We recognize, for example, that students have different ways of learning and different needs. We, in turn, engage in professional development to understand how to differentiate instruction and how to develop strategies for facilitating learning for all.

The degree to which our ongoing education contributes to the dynamism of the profession is also influenced by public perception. While our own pursuit of knowledge and professional development benefits us and may satisfy our own needs, the public also needs to know, appreciate and acknowledge our commitment. In short, we need to talk about it, to share with our students and their parents our engagement in the wide variety of ongoing learning opportunities of which we avail ourselves, such as Additional Qualification courses, summer institutes, workshops, conferences, peer observation, professional reading and dialogue.

Vibrancy of the profession and the public’s confidence in us are closely linked. Students have a front row seat to effective teaching and the impact of professional learning on it. Parents and the greater public do not.

The College’s public register, found online at Find A Teacher on, is one record of our professional learning that can give to parents and to the public evidence of our vibrancy. It’s not the only source.

Vibrancy is also about energy and enthusiasm. Members of our profession are passionate about teaching, about sharing their knowledge and about the “Aha!” moments we achieve with students. This passion among members is constant and is evident even during times of adversity.

Vibrancy is lived in those moments when a teacher connects the lesson with students’ lived experiences. Student interest is kindled and they share their own excitement at home. Vibrancy depends on communication to enliven it.

We should make a concerted effort to talk to students, to parents, to our colleagues about the exciting learning opportunities in which we engage and the enthusiasm they generate.

Learning is a lifelong endeavour. For teachers it is a lifelong passion. The vitality of our profession and the trust we engender in it comes from your efforts to remain ever vibrant.

Michael Salvatori, OCT