Contribute to the regulatory body of your profession.
By Angela De Palma, OCT
Photo: Matthew Plexman
As I’ve passed through stores during shopping excursions at varying times of the year, displays of “teacher gifts” have caught my eye.
These collections of potential gifts grouped together with intention — be they mugs, bookmarks or notebooks — often feature inspirational or sentimental slogans such as “Best teacher ever” and “Teachers change the world.” Merchants clearly recognize the positive impact teachers have on the lives of children by stocking gifts that can serve as a material means of thanks.
“Teacher gift” displays regularly occupy valuable floor space in retail stores because education is monumental. It’s far-reaching, formative and unifying, with a saliency lingering well beyond our years as students.
I can recall one year when a store-bought gift wouldn’t meet my high, 12-year-old standards. Some personalization, added effort and time were needed to express my full appreciation for my Grade 6 teacher, whom I held in high esteem.
So, with a latch hook secured in my nimble fingers, I devoted the bulk of my artistic energy each evening for a month to completing a hooked rug pattern of an outdoor scene. The luxury of time one enjoys as a 12-year-old was on my side.
Time is certainly at more of a premium to me as an educator than it was as a preteen, so I thought carefully before deciding to put my name forward to serve on the Council of the Ontario College of Teachers back in 2012. Ultimately, I felt confident that I could successfully prioritize my employment while contributing meaningfully to my profession’s regulatory body. Acknowledging that serving two terms on College Council has been personally and professionally rewarding may be the greatest understatement I make in 2018.
As teachers, we have access to many opportunities to become engaged in the education sector beyond our immediate assignment. Especially as members of a self-regulating profession, like early childhood educators, social workers and nurses, we can provide input at a provincial level. I encourage you to take this step by voting in the College’s eighth Council election. Become a voter.
This edition of Professionally Speaking (see p.39) features the names of 69 Ontario Certified Teachers who want to serve as one of 23 elected members. We’re fortunate to have colleagues throughout the province who have declared their candidacy.
The service these members are willing to take on opens up an opportunity for the rest of us as engaged educators. Between now and when voting closes on April 9, we can prepare to decide on who protects the public interest on behalf of the teaching profession in Ontario.
As a voter, start with a meet-and-greet via the candidate bios included in these pages. Then, ask candidates questions and read their responses on the Voter’s Forum in the special election area at oct-oeeo.ca/councilelection2018.
The College’s Governance Committee heard loud and clear from members that our voting process needed to be easier and more meaningful. That’s why your online ballot, accessed through your College account, is newly individualized and streamlined, making it easier to review and select the colleagues who you believe will best serve College Council.
Being a voter will contribute to the regulatory body of our profession for the next three years. Join me in helping our College set the standard for great teaching by submitting your personal e-ballot. The future of protecting the public interest literally rests in our hands.