Creating a legacy for future leadership
By Liz Papadopoulos, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman
As you reach your final month with your students, you will, no doubt, take time to reflect on how your practice has affected them.
As teachers, we teach ideals and ethics and facilitate skills development in our students so that they can continue to succeed when they are no longer in our class.
In a similar vein, succession planning is important to the success of an organization. The Chair of Council has an important role to play in the development of her or his successor. Succession planning ensures that the required skills are developed so that when a leader has vacated a position, for whatever reason, there is a cadre of people who can take the lead in a seamless manner.
In 2009, I began my first term as Chair with some specific goals in mind. By 2012, in my second and final term as Chair of Council, my professional development in the area of governance helped Council to establish a legacy for the College.
Shared leadership helps to fuel growth in an organization. As such, effective governance was a priority for Council members.
Council established a Governance Committee that, during the seventh Council, will adopt a new guideline for future Councils. The Governance Committee will be tasked with the responsibility, among others, to advise Council on issues pertaining to Council effectiveness and committee membership. When elections eliminate incumbents, and appointed and elected members’ terms conclude, the legacy of good governance will continue at the Ontario College of Teachers.
It is appropriate for Council to establish priorities for an organization and for staff to set the objectives in motion. The outgoing Council, with the support and assistance of our staff, has left the College in a healthy financial position for its successors. Maintaining financial stability is critical considering the estimated reduction of new College registrants for 2016 (and beyond) that the enhanced teacher education program will bring.
The Accreditation Committee will be trained and poised to ensure that the initial teacher education Additional Qualifications (AQs) and Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQs) programs are aligned with the profession’s standards. The committee’s work protects the public interest by ensuring that Ontario faculties of education are turning out teachers who are well prepared to meet the needs of today’s students.
Likewise, the Investigation, Discipline and Fitness to Practise committees are doing their part to protect the public interest, working hard to deal with complaints. At the intake level, staff are educated in how to use a screening tool to determine which complaints belong at the College.
The College’s communication strategy, guided by Council’s set of principles, will help to ensure complaints that come to it are not misplaced. It aims to educate the public and our members about who the College is and that its mandate is to regulate the teaching profession in the public interest.
Future registrants to the College will continue to find fair and reasonable processes when applying and, where necessary, for satisfying conditions that may be placed on a Certificate of Qualification and Registration.
The recent refinement of our Professional Learning Framework assures members of the profession and the public that ongoing professional learning is a foundational element of who we are as a profession. It articulates how teachers are guided by the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession, and is linked to the Foundations of Professional Practice.
Just as you reflect and refine your practice, so too must the College.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people with whom I’ve worked who made this term such a success. Their dedication to the protection of the public interest is to be commended.
May you all have a fantastic summer — reflecting, growing, learning and, perhaps, even teaching. I can’t wait to see what the seventh Council will tackle over the next three years!