2009 Survey

Ethics, AQs and Elections

2009 annual survey lets members have their say

survey conducted by COMPAS Inc
article by Brian Jamieson

College members say the ethics that guide Ontario’s teaching profession closely reflect their personal values.

Many teachers say they will probably or definitely serve as associate teachers.

And keeping current is reason number one that teachers take Additional Qualification courses.

Those are a few of the findings in Professionally Speaking’s 2009 annual survey of College members, conducted this summer.


Members said they were familiar with the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession, which broadly encompass the notions of care, trust, respect and integrity. They also thought that the standards guided the work of education administrators, inspiring members to reflect and uphold the honour and dignity of the teaching profession, to guide decisions and actions, and to promote public trust and confidence in teaching.

More than half of those polled expressed familiarity with the ethical standards and almost two-thirds (65 per cent) said they used them in their decision making and professional activities. Four out of five (81 per cent) felt the ethical standards reflected their personal values as teachers.

The Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession were slightly less well known. Fifty per cent said they were very familiar or familiar and 62 per cent said the standards figured into their teaching practice.

Of those who said they had completed recent Additional Qualification courses, half felt the ethical and practice standards were reflected in the course instruction and discussion.


Additional Qualifications continue to be meaningful for teachers keen to stay on top of education research, developments and methodologies.

Four of five respondents said they were motivated to take AQs to improve their teaching practice. Other motives included keeping current with new research (70 per cent), preparing for a new assignment (67 per cent), personal interest (66 per cent) and moving up the salary grid (56 per cent).

Forty-three per cent reported that they had taken between two and five AQs since graduating with their BEd. A further 19 per cent completed between six and 10 courses since finishing their preparatory teacher education program.

Members gave high ratings to the courses they’d taken most recently for their use of current research, current provincial curriculum and policy initiatives, and best instructional practices. More than 40 per cent said the courses enabled them to establish networks with other teachers for ongoing dialogue and professional development.

As for learning preferences, 40 per cent favoured traditional in-class courses while 34 per cent said they would prefer an online course. In a separate question about streaming video, 64 per cent said they were more likely to take an online course that used this technology.

Family obligations, course costs, heavy teaching loads or extracurricular responsibilities were reasons given for not taking AQs.

Associate teaching

Giving back to the profession by helping those newest to it plays a huge role in the lives of many working teachers.

Almost a third of the respondents said they had served as associate teachers five times or more during their careers. More than half of those polled said they would definitely or probably work as associate teachers in the future. Nineteen per cent said they definitely would not.

The split between those who said they had or had not served as an associate teacher was 46 to 53 per cent, yes and no. Helping new teachers get the best possible preparation ranked as the top reason among those who had volunteered as associate teachers. Forty-three per cent said that was the most persuasive argument to take on the role. Giving back to the profession or using the opportunity to refresh their own teaching practice by learning new ideas from newly certified teaching graduates followed as compelling reasons to associate teach.

College elections

Asked why more teachers didn’t vote in the last election, 53 per cent said they didn’t know enough about the candidates. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) said that the College wasn’t relevant to teachers. Eleven per cent said they only wanted to vote for candidates in their own region or school system.

Other reasons for not voting included the suggestion that candidates endorsed by federations would win anyway (5 per cent), acclamation of candidates they would have voted for (3 per cent) and lack of computer access to the College’s online voting system (1 per cent).

Asked why more teachers don’t stand for election to College Council, 40 per cent said that teachers have too many other commitments or that it would require too much time away from school (23 per cent). Fifteen per cent of those surveyed said the College was not relevant to teachers, although this was less true for people newest to the profession. Just over one in 10 respondents felt that many teachers don’t know how to run or become involved with Council.

Professionally Speaking

Sixty per cent of respondents said they turned to Professionally Speaking for ideas they could use in their classrooms. News about teaching and education in the magazine appealed to 61 per cent, while stories about what their colleagues were doing in other schools or about developments in the profession resonated with 60 per cent.

News about professional events appealed to 38 per cent of those polled as a reason to read Professionally Speaking. Thirty-seven per cent looked to the magazine for information about products and services, help in their day-to-day work and career planning.

The publication of disciplinary reports drew a mixed response. Forty-two per cent said the reports were not a reason to read the magazine, while 33 per cent disagreed.

Asked what actions they’ve taken after reading an article or advertisement in Professionally Speaking, respondents said they discussed the information with a colleague or friend (75 per cent), kept the magazine for reference or visited a web site (67 per cent each) or applied an idea in their classrooms (61 per cent).

Seventeen per cent said they’d attended a course, an event or attraction or purchased an advertised product or service. One in 10 respondents said they had considered writing a letter to the editor.

Professionally Speaking tied with the College’s annual certificate mailing package and member-to-member conversations as the primary information source about the College (59 per cent of survey respondents). Just over half (51 per cent) turned to the College’s web site for information about the College, according to the survey.

E-mails from the College and information from other organizations were less frequently cited sources (38 and 23 per cent respectively).

To ban or not

Most of Ontario’s regulatory bodies have the right to impose publication bans to protect the identities of victims or vulnerable witnesses. The Ontario College of Teachers does not. Should it?

Of the survey respondents, 68 per cent said that disciplinary panels should definitely or probably have the right to prevent media reportage of some information from College hearings.

Ontario teachers may move for out-of-province job prospects

Teaching certificates accepted at par across Canada have captured the interest of Ontario teachers.

Fully half – 50 per cent – of the teachers polled by the College said they might consider moving to another province to work if teaching licences were equal in value, regardless of which province or territory awarded them.

Provincial governments and regulators across Canada are ironing out details now to enable teachers and other professionals to work in any province without need of further assessment or retraining.

Ontario currently has a surplus of certified, qualified teachers – twice as many as can be absorbed through retirement and natural attrition.

Thirty-seven per cent of the respondents said that the removal of certification barriers would not cause them to consider a move outside Ontario to teach.

“The youngest and oldest respondents are the most likely to consider moving. And this makes sense since people are more likely to move before their career is established and before they are married and settled or later in life when their children are grown and their spouse is retired,” said study leader Tamara Gottlieb of COMPAS Inc.

Top of Page