The role of the Ontario College of Teachers is often misunderstood. When you think of the College do you think of an organization exclusively for teachers? Well, you’re wrong. The Ontario College of Teachers is actually a valuable resource for parents as well as teachers. One of the missions of the College is to regulate teaching in the public interest – YOUR interest. The College wants the public to rest assured that the people they certify to teach in Ontario’s publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools are qualified.
The College’s website has many useful tools for parents including an online search in which parents can look up their child’s teacher, by name, and verify their credentials. The search is available from the site’s homepage and a teacher can be searched for by first or last name. Once you find the teacher you are looking for, the College’s database will bring up that teacher’s education (including their graduating years) as well as their basic qualifications and status with the college. If you have any questions on how teachers are certified, the College’s website also has comprehensive information regarding the process.
As a parent, I entrust my daughter’s well-being every day to teachers I don’t really know other than from what my daughter tells me about them (which usually isn’t much). Thanks to the Ontario College of Teachers I am not only able find out their qualifications, but also what professional standards her teachers are expected to adhere to.
What’s more, should I have a problem with a teacher’s conduct or competence that cannot be resolved at the school level, I can contact the College and have them investigate the issue. The College is mandated to investigate all complaints involving issues of teacher professional misconduct, incompetence and fitness to practice. Luckily, the incidence of complaints against Ontario teachers is low and it appears that the vast majority follow the standards of behaviour that are expected of them. Part of the College’s accountability to us the public is that disciplinary decisions against teachers can be found online.
The Ontario College of Teachers recognizes the importance parents play in their child’s education and encourage open communication between them and the College. The College wants parents to utilize the resources available to them so that they have the information they need to have confidence in their children’s certified teachers.
I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, which is why, in addition to frequenting the College’s website, I also subscribe to The Standard – the Ontario College of Teacher’s e-newsletter. The newsletter keeps me up-to-date on teacher qualifications and standards as well as educational trends and legislation. If you have any interest in Ontario’s elementary or secondary school education, which any parent should – I highly recommend subscribing to the College’s newsletter to keep yourself informed and up-to-date.
For more information on the resources and information available to parents through the College of Ontario Teachers, visit their website: https://www.oct.ca, follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OCT_OEEO and “like” their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OntarioTeachers.