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September 1998

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College is Listening to our Members

Members’ contributions are invaluable as our profession constantly re-evaluates and works to improve our professional self-governing body. The recent Annual General Meeting was the focus for many worthwhile questions and suggestions.

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By Donna Marie Kennedy

In the last issue of Professionally Speaking I wrote about some of the work that had been done in the inaugural year of the College. One of the most interesting challenges for all of us at the College is the constant re-evaluation and refining of all our activities in these start-up years.

The accreditation process used to evaluate three faculties of education this past year is a good example. The development of the process itself, the training of the panels and the writing of reports was an invaluable professional activity. This process will begin again as the College refines the procedures and prepares to begin the accreditation process for four more university programs.

I was privileged to be able to work with colleagues at the College and with a team of educators in the evaluation of the education program at Nipissing. Our panel interviewed a wide range of professionals, including faculty members of the university, associate teachers, board officials, federation representatives and, of course, teacher candidates and new graduates.

Each group and individual brought an important perspective to teacher education. On reflection, it is clear that all of these individuals are committed to our profession and to collective and individual improvement.


This is just one example of the many professional activities that teachers are involved in on a regular basis besides the course work that we do to upgrade our skills. Teachers are heavily involved in their profession through a multitude of organizations and committees – subject councils, educational associations, federations, board committees, university committees and, of course, the College of Teachers.

The input provided to all levels of the educational system by practising teachers through these organizations is invaluable. It is an important part of our professional lives and a collegial activity that too often goes unrecognized.

I hope that in the coming years we will be able to involve more members of the College in committee work and that teachers continue to volunteer their time to all of the important teacher organizations in the province of Ontario.


The first annual meeting of the College was held on the last Saturday in May to allow as many teachers as possible to attend. The day was unseasonably hot in more ways than one, but the turnout that filled our Council chamber to capacity was very encouraging.

The meeting began with a short presentation on the activities of the College and each of the standing committees, followed by a question and answer period of approximately an hour and a half.

The questions were pointed and important ones. For the most part, I believe College members who had questions felt their concerns were answered and that the College leadership is sensitive to members’ input. There was some criticism about the length of the question period and that issue will be addressed next year. The questions and answers from that session have been posted on the College web site and we will print some of them in Frequently Asked Questions in this and future issues of Professionally Speaking.

After the meeting, I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss issues informally with many members of the College. Since then, I have received some correspondence from College members who attended the meeting and provided constructive suggestions and comments. I do appreciate the time that those individuals took to raise their concerns and we will discuss the issues that they raised.


Many colleagues will be retiring this year with the 85 factor. They have served the profession well and we thank them. Their expertise and knowledge will be missed in many of our schools across the province.

To those entering the profession – welcome. We are facing some of the most dramatic changes in education that the province has ever seen. The implementation of these changes will be a heavy responsibility in the coming months and years.