College unveils report

From left: Frank McIntyre (author of Transition to Teaching), Registrar Doug Wilson and Chair Marilyn Laframboise field questions from the press.

"First and foremost, what we've learned is this: beginning teachers are passionate about wanting to improve the lives of their students through quality learning," said Wilson. "But for all their energy and optimism, they say they don't get the support they need to properly launch their teaching careers."

The College's Transition to Teaching study of first-and second-year teachers found that:

  • more than half of new teachers are hired after school starts in September
  • one in five are asked to teach subjects they haven't been trained to teach
  • almost one in five is at risk of leaving teaching early in their career.
The College is tracking teacher education graduates over five years to discover how many are hired, in what positions, who leaves and why, and whether their experience at the faculties of education prepared them well.

Surveys were mailed to 6,223 first- and second-year teachers as part of the study, funded in part by the Ministry of Education. Precisely 27.5 per cent responded, making the results accurate within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Almost all included comments about their experiences.

The study is also aimed at identifying what support new teachers need and how school boards can retain them.

The study found that new teachers are frequently hired late, shifted around and given the toughest assignments, often with little or no support. These teachers find the hiring process bewildering and chaotic. They often don't know if, when or how school boards will do their hiring for the year.

Even though they rated the support from their colleagues highly, novice teachers said they wanted more help, advice and time from experienced teachers. They want to learn how to evaluate students' work, to manage classrooms and plan lessons more effectively and to communicate better with parents.

"The first couple of years are critical in the lives of teachers," Wilson said. "At a time when they are sorting out what the job is and how best to do it, they are often given the toughest assignments. Worse, their qualifications don't always match the teaching assignments they are given."

"Not only does this frustrate our goals as a College - to ensure that there is a qualified, certified teacher in every Ontario classroom - it undermines new teachers and shortchanges students."

Wilson added that high stress and uncertainty about job futures are factors that put one in five new teachers at risk of leaving the profession.
"The risk of discouraging teachers in their beginning years is real and the loss of new teachers is a loss to everyone," said Wilson.

Ontario will have to hire between 9,000 and 10,000 teachers a year for the next seven years just to replace those who retire or leave the profession.

"We need to capture the wisdom of experienced teachers before they retire," Wilson said. "We have to make it ea-sier for new teachers to do the jobs they are hired for. And we have to help these idealistic newcomers to Ontario's schoolsbecome better teachers faster."

"Those who make the decision to teach do so from their hearts," said Marilyn Laframboise.

"This highly educated group of people, many of whom have more than one degree, are very capable of finding employment in many other sectors. But they choose teaching. They choose it because they can make a difference in the lives of others. It's a life-affirming call to duty that brings the finest people to the profession and they deserve our support."

Click here for a copy of the Ontario College of Teachers' Transition to Teaching study.

career fair

External Relations Officer Kathy Anstett
(in red), chats with a parent at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate's Career Fair. College staff will provide information regarding the teaching profession to thousands of students by attending nearly 20 career fairs throughout the province this year.

BC changes College legislation

British Columbia's College of Teachers saw its structure and mandate change dramatically when amendments to the Teaching Profession Act were introduced on May 12, 2003. Changes to the act include the introduction of a system for handling complaints against members of the profession.

The legislation also directly affects the structure of the college's governing council. Previously made up of 20 members, including 15 teachers and five publicly appointed members, the new board will have 12 members drawn from the public and the education community alongside eight teachers.

The BC government appointed a 20-member transitional council at the end of May, which held its first meeting on June 3, 2003. These members are expected to remain in these positions for at least one year before any elections are held.

In early July, the British Columbia Teachers' Federation filed a constitutional challenge to Bill 51 (the amendment to the Teaching Profession Act) on the grounds that it violates teachers' right to freedom of association, freedom of expression, and liberty and security of the person.


Executive Director, Judith M. Hoppin (rear left) and Associate Dean, Robert A. Wiggins (rear right) were among a delegation from the School of Education at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan). The group visited the College to discuss registration requirements for Ontario teachers with College staff

York region plans all-sports high school

The York Region District School Board hopes to parlay plans for a sports-focused secondary school in Markham into a national sports training facility suitable for Olympic-calibre athletes and coaches.

The board has purchased a 31-acre site, now home to a golf course, and is seeking provincial and federal support to build facilities for swimming, track and field, combative arts (wrestling, judo, karate/tae kwon do), table tennis and badminton.

Early cost estimates peg the project at $70 million. The board has committed the land and $30 million towards the school, which it expects to open in 2006.

"We can make it work for our students and have a real impact on the sports culture in this country," says board chair Bill Crothers, Canada's 800-metre silver-medallist at the 1964 Olympics.

Not a single track and field facility in the Greater Toronto Area meets current international requirements for training, says Crothers. Of two Olympic-sized pools in the GTA serving numerous competitive swim clubs, only one qualifies to host an international championship.

Projected to accommodate 1,300 Grade 7 to 12 students, the school will serve the community, high performance athletes in sports that are a focus at the school, student athletes from outside the board as well as young people interested in coaching, officiating and sports administration.

The goal is to develop healthy, active students who will be attracted to careers involving health care, coaching, teaching and sports-related disciplines.

The board envisions a facility that would be open 18 hours a day, 255 days a year. Crothers foresees a testing and research centre as well as offices for coaches. Drawing on a wide range of sports associations, the board hopes to facilitate instruction and optimize the use of the facilities by the greater sports community, including disabled athletes. Crothers wants the board to partner with Canadian Sport Centre - Ontario to become part of the national sports strategy.

York Region teachers would be assigned to the school for a fixed number of years and then rotate back into the system. The school would also become a centre for professional development for coaching and physical education training. High performance clinics and training camps would attract national and international level coaches and athletes.

"So many athletes are put into positions of having to choose between academics and athletics," says Crothers. "We need a demonstration that the two can and should go hand-in-hand."

The York Region board already has program-focused schools in the arts, business and technological education. Why not one for student athletes? Crothers asks.

Advisory board members on the project include: Bruce Kidd, dean of Physical and Health Education at the University of Toronto; Colin Hood, executive director of the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA); Karen Pitrie, co-ordinator of the Toronto 2008 Olympic bid committee; Andy Higgins, director of the National Coaching Institute - Ontario; and Robert Betthauer, president of Canadian Sport Centre - Ontario.


Visitors from the Ontario Catholic Principals' Council participate in the College's ongoing stakeholder consultations. Left to right, are: Nelly Kelders, then-President of OCPC, with
the College's Deputy Registrar Brian McGowan and Registrar Doug Wilson,
as well as OCPC's then President-elect
Terri MacDonald and Executive Director Lou Rocha.

Private school disclosure

Private schools must now let parents know which of their instructors belong to the Ontario College of Teachers and the status of each teacher's Certificate of Qualification.

The new requirement was part of provincial government changes to legislation in May affecting equity in education tax credits. It was introduced as a measure to "enhance student safety in independent schools," the government says.

To qualify for the tax credit program, private schools must now assess student progress in reading, writing and mathematics and tell parents how their children's progress in core subjects is monitored and assessed and where they can find information about consumer protection from the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services.

employer conference

Registrar Doug Wilson speaks to audience members at the Employer Conference in Sudbury. Full day conferences for board representatives and other employers of teachers were held during May and June in Toronto, Sudbury and Thunder Bay.

Green light for a Québec college of teachers

After years of discussion and debate, the Quebec Minister of Education, Pierre Reid, has given the go-ahead for the creation of a college of teachers. The government announced its intention during the Committee on Education debates on Wednesday, July 9.

The proposal came as a surprise since l'Office des professions du Québec –the government organization that oversees regulating bodies for professions in the province – had advised against the measure last February. Reid has indicated, however, that the office will now work in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to draft the bill. A parliamentary committee is scheduled to convene in the spring of 2004.

According to Reid, the teaching profession needs stronger guidelines to ensure the protection of public interests in education. He states that his party "came forward with the idea of setting up a professional body of teachers in Québec and Quebeckers have asked us to do ju
st that."


Deputy Registrar Brian McGowan (rear right) in Thunder Bay in June to consult with school board representatives (clockwise from front right) Carol-Lynne Oldale of the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board and Sherri Pharand and Marie Clarke of Lakehead District School Board.

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