Members provide insight into state of the teaching profession
Leadership, partnership and governance. The new College Council is working to have a positive influence on the profession. There is much to do and by listening to our members we ensure that our work will be well informed. .

By Marilyn Laframboise

It was once said that leadership could be defined as the ability to help people do the worthwhile things they want to do. This kind of leadership is most often based on listening and understanding.

As the self-governing body for Ontario's teaching profession, the College depends on frank and open communication with its members. We must know what they think and understand how they feel about the profession, its future and their future in it.

Communicating with 190,000 members has always been both a challenge and a priority for the College. We receive more than 1,000 telephone calls a day. In addition, the College web site receives between 10,000 and 20,000 visitors a week. Through ongoing outreach initiatives – including the recent consultations with teachers and school board administrators about new teacher induction – we meet members in their communities to discuss our work as a College on behalf of the profession and in the interest of Ontarians.

Despite these regular and special efforts, we know that there is always more knowledge and insight among members waiting to be offered. We believe that it is by listening that our vision is strengthened and our judgement deepened. With your input, we have the courage, energy and focus to move forward with confidence and integrity.

With these things in mind, the College commissioned a telephone survey of 1,000 members, representing the broad sweep of the teaching profession. The survey of members – the first in our seven-year history – was conducted by the noted research firm COMPAS in July 2003. With COMPAS, we have created an overview document based on members' feedback and we are making the results of this survey available to the public.

In this issue, the College is pleased to present these results to members in a special feature on the state of the teaching profession in Ontario.

Where we are

The information gathered paints a compelling picture about teacher confidence in the current education system and their position in that system. It will provide a guide to those who have responsibilities for leadership for the profession.

We wanted to know what our members observe, experience and hear about. How do they see their relationship to other stakeholders – administrators, students, colleagues, parents? We wanted to know how our members grow as professionals? How have changes in teaching practice – from standardized testing to the Internet – helped or hindered them?

Survey respondents were invited to think back to why they became teachers and to let us know what continues to keep them enthused. We asked for their advice to those considering the profession and their thoughts on how they themselves continue to improve as teachers.

We expected and received strong reactions and freely informed opinion. Our members were anxious to be heard and we are pleased to be able to provide a forum. Ontario's teaching profession is vibrant, dynamic and continually evolving.

Where we are going

This fall, as council committees and College staff begin their review of the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession, the information garnered from The State of the Teaching Profession will inform their work.

To walk in step with the profession and to lead, the Ontario College of Teachers must have a current take on its members and on teaching in Ontario. Our vision must reflect the goals, dreams and desires of those who serve Ontario's students in the public interest.

I hope that all members will read this report and consider where and how the thoughts of your colleagues resonate with your own. The dialogue is ongoing.

The future of teaching begins here.


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Ontario College of Teachers
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