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Registrar's Report

Exercising Judgment

Penny loafers or runners? How does your footwear reflect the practicality of your work and, more importantly, your professional judgment? The Registrar steps up to discuss.

By Michael Salvatori, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman

Photo of College Registrar Michael Salvatori smiling.

One of the best lessons I learned as a new principal involved footwear and the importance of professional judgment. For that, I have a former student named Maxwell to thank.

Max, like some young children, had anxiety his first day of school. I knew this because his mother, who entrusted him to my care, was careful to note his first-day nerves. As I gently guided him to his classroom and his mother quietly slipped away, the other shoe — so to speak — dropped. Max bolted, in search of his mother, so I followed suit. However, the polished terrazzo floors and the soles of my shiny new loafers made for a very ineffective pursuit. A solid pair of runners, slightly used, would have been a better choice that first week.

As professionals, we learn from our experiences, our successes, our triumphs and our … ahem … missteps.

Honing our professional judgment is an important part of our practice. As reflective practitioners, we assess the effectiveness of our instructional strategies with students and modify as needed. We refine our communication with students, colleagues and parents continually in order to convey our messages with clarity, care and professionalism. And we gauge our approaches to occasional dilemmas against well-established ethical standards for the teaching profession and our standards of practice.

And frequently, we seek assistance, advice and support. The College is here to serve as one source of advice and support for Ontario teachers.

Recently, we issued a professional advisory on the duty to report when teachers suspect that children and youth may be the victims of abuse or neglect. The advisory considers teachers’ judgment about the well-being of their students. It also provides clear direction: when in doubt, report.

Duty to Report is our fifth professional advisory. All are written with the purpose of informing members’ professional judgment and practice. Whether it’s advice about charting professional learning or the responsible use of social media, the advisories demonstrate one way that the College supports its members. As the regulator for the teaching profession in Ontario, the College plays a pivotal role in providing support to augment, enhance and inform members’ professional judgment. In that regard, we are no different than other professionals in our schools such as early childhood educators, psychologists and social workers.

The excellent reputation members of the College enjoy, steeped in public confidence and trust, can be attributed in large part to the judgment you exercise in your daily practice. Stride by stride, step forward with pride and confidence knowing that the decisions you make support students and their learning.

And make sure you’re wearing the right shoes.

 Michael Salvatori's signature