How will we know unless we ask?

Every fall teachers ask their students questions to understand them better and to prepare learning opportunities that reflect their needs and interests. The College likewise asks questions of its members to help improve the services it provides them.

by Michael Salvatori, OCT

Questions are to teachers what words are to Alice Munro. Inseparable. There isn’t an educator in the province who can’t improve her or his classroom practice by first gaining a deeper, richer understanding of the students they guide and instruct.

Questions elicit the answers.

As you gather information about your students through ongoing dialogue, so too the College asks questions of you and all members to learn more about how we can play a role in helping you achieve your goals.

This issue of Professionally Speaking includes the results of our annual survey of College members. It reflects the feedback you’ve provided about issues such as the standards of practice, Council elections and Additional Qualifications.

The magazine also provides information about a new professional designation for Ontario teachers, something that, last year, many of you told us you wanted.

Teachers are learners first. The work you do to prepare to teach and to stay current is impressive. Our work in accreditation and our ongoing study of initial and continuing teacher education programs proves it. We want to do our very best to ensure that the courses Ontario teachers take are relevant and practical and reflect the realities of Ontario’s classrooms.

“We rely on the informed support of our members.”

When preparing for this year’s survey, we gave careful thought to our questions.

What’s your motivation for additional learning? Is it to prepare for new assignments, to stay current with new research and developments in teaching or to move up the salary grid? We wanted to know.

Are you aware of the College’s role in accrediting Additional Qualification courses? We’ve made changes to some. Have they been positive and helpful or have they been problematic? We wanted to hear your thoughts.

We wanted to know if you are familiar with the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession. Do they reflect your individual values? Do they affect your daily practice?

Have you ever been an associate teacher? Why? How did it enhance your own teaching? Did it affect your sense of professionalism? Or, if you’ve decided not to serve in that mentoring capacity, why not?

Admittedly, some of our questions were self-serving.

The College recently held an election for 23 positions on our 37-member Council. (Fourteen people are appointed by the provincial government; the majority are elected by College members.) Only six spots were contested. Seventeen members were acclaimed. Why?

Was the voting process awkward or convoluted? Did we not provide enough information? Was the timing wrong? Did you know the candidates? Or did you feel there was no point? We wanted to know.

In making regulations that affect the teaching profession – something no other body in Ontario outside the government has the authority to do – we rely on the informed support of our members through their elected representatives on Council.

Do you understand the College’s role in public education? If not, can we do more to fill you in?

“I’m a strong believer that theory and practice are interdependent.”

We’ve asked you to rate the sources of information you receive from the College.

We’ve asked for your comments on Professionally Speaking. Do you make use of it in your classrooms or lesson planning? Have you signed up for a course or purchased a product you saw advertised within its pages? Has an article ever prompted you to write the editor a letter?

I’m a strong believer that theory and practice are interdependent. Each fuels the other. Questioning you about what we do enhances our service. Your answers stimulate the changes you want to see.

We appreciate your feedback.

All of it.

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