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Letters to the Editor

Professionally Speaking welcomes letters and articles on topics of interest to teachers. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and to conform to our publication style. To be considered for publication, letters must provide the writer’s daytime phone number and registration number. Address letters to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking at or 101 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 0A1.

OCTs Teaching Abroad

As an OCT who has taught in international schools for 16 of my 23 years as a teacher, I would like to make three comments about “Passport to Learning” (June 2014):

1) The opportunities highlighted in the article are only the tip of the iceberg. I would recommend that OCTs interested in teaching in international schools subscribe to newspapers like The International Educator ( and sign up with established international teacher recruiting agencies.

2) While the article presented teaching abroad as an interesting opportunity, it saddens me that new graduates facing the consequences of 10 years of rampant teacher over-certification do not have many other options if they want to get into a classroom.

3) It further saddens me that the experience gained by young teachers who choose to go abroad counts for nothing when they return to Canada to face the hiring process that is spelled out by Regulation 274/12.

Overall, the article does suggest a means by which unemployed OCTs can enter the profession and enjoy rewarding careers. However, until international teaching experience (along with private and other accredited school experience) is recognized by Ontario public schools when hiring, new teachers will likely continue to prefer unemployment to teaching abroad.

Bryce McBride, OCT, is teaching International Baccalaureate economics and mathematics at Raha International School in Abu Dhabi.

As a retired OCT and mother of a teacher who is currently employed at an international school in Hong Kong, I took great interest in “Passport to Learning” (June 2014). While all of the rewarding elements that result from this opportunity are true, I find it disturbing that so many young, well-educated professionals have no choice but to follow this route.

We are losing extremely qualified and enthusiastic teachers to out-of-country teaching positions. If they return home after one or two years, and are fortunate enough to get a teaching job, it will likely be occasional work. These OCTs will lose these valuable “pension-contributing years” and, for some, will have never taught the Ontario curriculum.

Your article, which paints a positive picture of OCTs teaching abroad, reminds me of how uncertain teaching careers are back home.

Lynn Opre is a retired OCT who taught at San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School in Mississauga, Ont.

Alternative Career Options

Over the past few years I have noticed that Professionally Speaking has provided statistics on the lack of teaching positions in Ontario. However, in recent issues I was happy to see articles about alternative careers for teachers who have chosen to work outside the classroom. There are many teachers, including myself, who have been supply teaching for a long time, and have decided to move forward in our professional careers and use our broad skills. I would like to see more of these articles in the future.

Joanne Bruno, OCT, is an occasional teacher with the Durham Catholic District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board.

Fee Frustration

The College is a professional organization. If you are a member you pay the fee to be recognized as a professional. The college should not set a special fee for occasional or part-time teachers.

I am an OCT but have left teaching due to a lack of work. I have since found steady, enjoyable employment making a fraction of a teacher’s salary. Since I earned the right to be a member, I will not whine about $150 a year. [In response to a letter published in the June 2014 issue.]

Sheila Gushue, OCT, was an occasional teacher for a number of years in the North Bay area.

Winners Circle!


Christopher Joseph, OCT, is the lucky winner of a $150 Cineplex gift package. The occasional teacher with the Toronto District School Board was chosen at random after participating in our online poll about go-to resources for lesson planning (see June 2014: “Master Plan,” p. 15).

Karen Friedman, OCT, a superintendent of schools with York Region District School Board, has won a signed copy of Paikin and the Premiers (see June 2014: “Final Exam,” p. 62), for following us on Twitter.

Correction: In the Hearings section (June 2014), the first decision summary incorrectly listed the Waterloo Catholic District School Board as the employer of a member who appeared before a Discipline Committee panel. The correct employer was the Waterloo Region District School Board. In “Passport to Learning” (June 2014), the ETFO hyperlink was used for OECTA. We regret these errors.