OCT makes a timely statement

The College is officially launching teachers’ new professional designation as the 2009–10 school year begins. The timing couldn’t be better.

by Liz Papadopoulos, OCT

You may have noticed from the cover of this magazine that we have officially launched the use of the professional designation – Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) – that was initiated and approved by the fourth Council.

Members will be seeing the designation on certificates, correspondence and various communications from the College from now on. We hope you will use it yourself when the opportunity arises.

As I begin my term as Chair of the fifth College Council, I must acknowledge the foresight of my predecessor Don Cattani and our colleagues on the previous Council.

They purchased a new home for the College when the economy and the real-estate market offered the most favourable possible conditions. They worked long and hard to review, update and/or create new Additional Qualifications under the Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow initiative.

As a matter of fact, we have just launched a new Find an AQ search engine on the College web site to make it easier for you to access the hundreds of AQs on offer.

Additionally, the timing could not be better for teachers’ new professional designation.

One of the first issues our new Council will have to deal with is Charles Pascal’s Early Learning Report, which proposes a much-expanded role in publicly funded schools for early childhood educators, who have a brand new College and professional designation, ECE.

The Pascal report is about turning the recent wealth of theory about early childhood learning into practice in Ontario. The unique professional skills and knowledge of teachers is founded on mastering theory and applying it effectively in the classroom to benefit our students. That mastery is what being an Ontario Certified Teacher – OCT – is all about.

On a practical note, we  have many qualified, certified Primary/Junior teachers who are ready and eager to take on the challenge of an expanded early years learning program in Ontario schools.

Prior to the Pascal report, the teaching profession had already recognized the need for broader and deeper preparation for our members who teach kindergarten and had revised the Kindergarten AQ from a single-session course to a three-part specialist program.

I have asked Education Minister Kathleen Wynne to provide the teaching profession with information that would help us understand the specifics of how the Ministry sees ECEs working alongside OCTs in Ontario’s schools.

“We have many qualified, certified Primary/Junior teachers who are ready and eager to take on the challenge.”

The College strongly supports the intent to create a seamless and supportive system for early care and learning for Ontario children and their families. We will share information with you on this initiative as we learn more about proposals for implementation.

I’m very proud to have this opportunity to serve our profession as Council Chair, but I will miss the excitement and anticipation that comes with welcoming a new class in September.

I have always enjoyed the feeling of renewal that comes with a new school year. Curriculum Night – better known to parents and teachers as Meet the Teacher – has always been an opportunity to promote a sense of community and professionalism in my classroom.

That evening and the early weeks of school provide a great opportunity to demonstrate that we are well qualified for the great trust that is placed in us.

There are many ways to do that – including displaying a printed copy of your teaching certificate or simply directing parents to your qualifications on the College web site at Find a Teacher. Like the use of the designation OCT, every reminder that you are a qualified, certified professional can only help to build the confidence of those who entrust us with the most precious people in their lives.

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