The Toronto Sun's Moira MacDonald writes today about the pissing match between the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the Ontario College of Teachers over the 'new' "OCT" designation for college of teachers members.
The college's magazine, where I first read about the designation, has its feature article online for those who hadn't heard what an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) is all about.
One the face of it, this seems like a fairly small, simple move on the college's behalf. As the body that regulates the profession of teaching in Ontario (try getting a teaching job without being an OCT member), it introduces a designation to go along with the professional certification of college membership. Yes, there is a certification process-- B.Ed or equivalent post-secondary degree, with successful completion of the New Teacher Induction Program. College membership is provisional until the NTIP is completed.
This designation is no different than those for engineers, planners, financial advisors, accountants, etc. Even, *gasp* early childhood educators are closer to designation than teachers had been, given there is an provincial college of ECEs and some no doubt use ECE as their designation.
From MacDonald's piece:
"We don't need another acronym behind our names in terms of justifying that we are teachers," said Reno Melatti, president of the Ontario Teachers' Federation, the umbrella group for the province's four teacher unions. "Our students, parents, the community, know who we are."Really? The OTF is the representative body for all teachers? What's he smoking? What about private-school teachers? Admittedly a small minority, but the OTF is confusing the dues its member federations collect with some supposedly God-given right to representation.
"The only people that represent teachers in this province is OTF," said Melatti, adding the college's role is to regulate the teaching profession in the interests of the public, not teachers.
"If this (professional designation) was a concern of teachers, it should have come to us because the college is not there to speak on behalf of teachers."
Rather, the college is the only body that represents all teachers, regardles of which federation they might be compelled to belong to through their employment. In an age where the college has matured to the point where its council certifies all additional qualification programs and even certifies teachers' college programs, a designation is a small, admittedly somewhat insignificant step.
The OTF can hoot and holler all it wants. Perhaps it could have encouraged its members, who are 50 per cent plus one of the OCT council, to quash this before it became reality. The disagreement speaks perhaps to the changes in legitimacy between how we should view the college and how we view the federations.
As to the designation itself? Who cares if teachers use OCT after their names or not. I've never been one to add letters before or after my name (a la Stephen Colbert), facetiously or otherwise. Then again, given the various acronyms a Bachelor of Journalism could lead to...