Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
“Our mandate is clear, our goals are aligned, and our efforts consistently bring us closer to enhancing teacher professionalism in the public interest,” said Michael Salvatori, OCT, College CEO and Registrar, during his report at the Annual Meeting of Members on June 8 in Toronto.
“New” was the word for the College in 2016 — new legislation, new practices and developments, and new and greater connections.
Student protection was strengthened with the passing of the Protecting Students Act, enabling the College to streamline and improve its disciplinary process. “The new laws,” said Salvatori, “reflect most of our recommended changes. We believe that Ontario students will be safer as a result.”
The Registrar also spoke of the College’s close work with Ontario’s faculties of education to implement the Enhanced Teacher Education Program to prepare teacher candidates for today’s diverse classrooms. The program adds two more semesters to teacher training.
The College continued to increase outreach to parents and members, launched a new Applicant Eligibility Assessment tool to help internationally educated teachers through the application process, and shared best practices with the Regulatory Communicators’ Network.
Last year was also one of firsts. It was the first time the College ran a social media-only campaign to engage Ontarians.
Held in support of UNESCO’s international celebration of World Teacher’s Day, “Just One Word” asked the public to describe their favourite teacher using a single word.
Angela De Palma, OCT, Chair of Council, spoke of another first — the first time the College used art as a strategy to talk about the ethical standards. Created by First Nations College member Bruce Beardy, Exploring the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession through Anishinaabe Art is an educative resource and series of posters that support ethical conversations within teacher education and expose teacher candidates to First Nations cultures and worldviews.
De Palma also reported on Council’s work in 2016 to improve the way it governs, amends professional advisories, streamlines the accreditation process for teacher education programs, and updates or develops new Additional Qualification courses for members.
“With our strategic plan as a compass, we continue to refine and sharpen the focus of our work to ensure that we, your Council, and committee decisions best serve, and better protect, the public interest,” the Chair said.
The meeting also marked the College’s 20th anniversary. A panel discussion entitled “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” explored the College’s history and also spoke to its future.
Moderated by Salvatori and De Palma, panellists included: Margaret Wilson, OCT, the College’s first CEO and Registrar; Donna Marie Kennedy, the College’s first Chair of Council; Dave Cooke, former Minister of Education; and Dr. Avis Glaze, former commissioner of the Royal Commission on Learning. Each of the panellists played a significant role in the creation of the College.
Among other things, the panel discussed why the College was created.
“There had to be an organization that looked out for the public interest — the student interest,” said Cooke, the Minister of Education at the time. “The College should be seen as a consumer protection organization.”
Wilson spoke of the logistics of creating the College. She recalled needing to hire staff, find office space and arrange for a governing Council.
“Progress was hard-fought,” she said, “but as the College grew, people started to believe the wheels weren’t going to fall off this bus.”
Kennedy recalled the numerous debates that took place in the early days, but that everyone involved was invested in “making it work.” She also added that the diverse group of individuals on Council contributed to the College’s early success, especially when it came to ensuring that Bill 160, which would have put non-teachers in the classroom, didn’t pass.
Glaze, a former commissioner on the Royal Commission that recommended creating the College, was pleased to see how far it had come.
“The College,” she said, “is a leading edge, world-class organization.”
Looking to the future, Kennedy stressed the need to engage more teachers in the work of the College, while Glaze hoped the College would continue to push issues such as inclusivity and diversity in education. Wilson believes the profession — College, the Ministry and the federations — needs to work more closely together.
Cooke agreed, but added, “The College’s role is to protect the public interest. If we always keep that in the forefront, progress will be made.”