More Than Just the Blue Pages
By Liz Papadopoulos, OCT
Photo: Tessa Buchan
Did you flip to the “blue pages” before reading this column? Be honest. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had.
The “blue pages,” or “Governing Ourselves,” is a notoriously well-known and widely read section of the College’s official publication. The decision summaries are intended to be educative and demonstrate our transparency as a profession. Yet those pages serve a much greater purpose. They remind us that we hold ourselves and our colleagues accountable to the highest professional and ethical standards.
Members of the teaching profession aren’t the only ones interested in the College’s disciplinary matters. In an age of transparency and accountability, more is expected from professionals and public institutions all the time, everywhere.
This summer, the College consulted extensively with Ontario Certified Teachers and members of the public right across Ontario. We asked what factors they felt erode or enhance public confidence. We also talked about steps the College might take to help build confidence in the teaching profession and in self-regulation.
Not surprisingly, we heard that communicating details about disciplinary decisions is critical to building public trust. Yet we also heard that the ensuing negative media coverage leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Most teachers are passionate professionals, dedicated to helping students achieve. So why is it so difficult to tell good news stories about the exceptional learning and teaching opportunities taking place in classrooms across Ontario?
What we heard from the summer focus groups is that parents and teachers alike want the good news to get out. In addition to sharing the work of remarkable teachers with College members in this professional publication, they want to see these best practices shared with parents across the province.
So in 2014, let’s work together to celebrate and share our professional successes, and our ability to build public confidence each day.
I encourage you to become involved in your own professional regulation. Go beyond the “blue pages.” Take an interest in all matters that come forward in the “Governing Ourselves” section of Professionally Speaking.
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Public Confidence” in the subject line. What are you doing now that promotes confidence in your abilities as a professional? What do you think you can do to enhance public confidence in Ontario’s teaching profession?
Together, we can tell our good news stories and demonstrate that Ontario’s students are in great hands.
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