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From The Chair

Future Proofing Today

Steve Jobs got it right when he said planning for the future is best done in the now.

By Liz Papadopoulos, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman; Outdoor Photo: Thinkstock

Photo of College Chair Liz Papadopoulos.

Much of how I run my life is thanks to Apple founder Steve Jobs, or rather, his forward thinking. It’s true. The iPhone — my iPhone — allows me to communicate via email, text or voice, it reminds me about my appointments, plays my favourite songs and generally makes my life easier. It’s my mobile office and entertainment system, and I would hazard a guess that many of you feel the same way.

Eight years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Ten years ago it was still in development and 15 years ago, most of us were walking around with our portable CD players (the ’90s version of iTunes). Yet today, few of us are without a smartphone and even fewer would dispute that Jobs was critical to the reshaping of our technological landscape — his legacy will no doubt continue to influence us for years to come.

That’s what occupying a leadership role means — looking ahead, being prepared for whatever might come our way, both known and unknown. At the College, there are two types of planning. The first is medium-term planning over the next several years, for example, by adding new staff to meet our regulatory obligations, changing our fee structure and improving members’ access to information through technology.

While this type of planning is essential, what’s even more important is planning for the long term. As a self-regulating body run by educators for educators, created to serve the public interest, our long-term planning is our road map for years to come. It represents the educators we want to be, the milestones we want to achieve and where we want to be as a profession.

As I write this, Council is in the midst of shaping our College’s vision, values and strategic priorities. I say our, because your voices are heard through 23 of the 37 Council members who have been elected by you, our members. We also rely on input from education thought leaders, other regulators and stakeholder organizations.

Collectively, we plan for the future of our members — how to advance Ontario’s teaching profession and better serve the public interest.

As I enter my final year in my mandate as Council Chair, I am proud of what we have brought to life and excited for the future we are shaping.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.”

For Ontario’s educators, now is that moment.

Summer Agenda: Sunshine and Learning

A photo of a traveller sitting on a cliff ledge overlooking an expansive forest. The sky above is blue and white, smattered with clouds.

What are your summer plans? For many, it is a time to slow down, relax and have fun. For others, it’s a time for growth, learning and new experiences. I am always curious to see what people choose, and my favourite stories are those in which individuals manage to do both by taking a “learning vacation.”

One of my colleagues will be swimming her way to victory (fingers crossed!) at the 15th International Swimming Federation ( World Masters Championships in Montreal. For her, it’s all about the challenge — pushing herself to her limit and seeing what she is capable of.

Another colleague will be taking part in Project Overseas (, see “Passport to Learning,” p. 30), a program that gives Ontario teachers the opportunity to visit another country while providing professional development workshops for local teachers. For her, it’s a time to meet new people, share her knowledge and give back to the global community.

This summer, consider how you might have fun, learn and grow — all at the same time. Consider a learning vacation — it gives you the best of all worlds.

Liz Papadopoulos's handwritten signature.