Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The federations that represent Ontario teachers never cease to amaze with their protests.
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."
"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."
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.
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...


RetDir said...

Well, without wishing to rain on the OCT's parade, all of the other professions that have letters after their names require their members to complete mandatory professional training on a regular basis in order to keep those letters there...something that this profession seems singularly uninterested in. And the members of the College I've talked with (and I'm one) think it's a joke - not one plans on using OCT after their names...until it means something. As one said, compared to an M.D., a P.Eng., or an C.G.A. this is ridiculous.Professionalism is earned, not granted.

Education Reporter said...

The challenge to-date isn't in the initial certification-- it's in the process of measuring how members retain their accreditation.
OCT membership means having a teaching degree and teachables as appropriate, and (as of a few years ago) completing the New Teacher Induction Program.

Once you get full membership though, that's where there is a lack of any further checkin.

Some people get high on letters after their names, some don't. The designation is what it is (or isn't). However, I agree with the college's intent in creating it.


Anonymous said...

what total nonsense!

Of course they've considered that if one can measure "professionalism" and award the "OCT" letters that the profession may also take those letters away if the individual doesn't measure up.

Doesn't the COT have anything else to do??

Education Reporter said...

The OCT already does take accreditation away. Read the college's famous 'blue pages.'

Note the college also surveyed its members and found support for the designation.


Anonymous said...

“The OCT already does take accreditation away. Read the college's famous 'blue pages.'“

If you actually read the doctored blue pages and discipline decision on line you will discover what they really are about. Sex offenders are actually allowed to teach our kids. If you speak up you are charged and convicted not on truth but circumstantial, innuendo and editorial comments. Any one who defends the Ontario College of Teachers clearly has been paid well to speak up for an organization that is hated by teachers. The OTF controls the College. The Teachers Unions decide who they want to sit on the College Council and they send out list of candidates to the teachers to vote for their hand selected flunkies. Why would any one in their right mind think classrooms are a safe place for kids. One administrator was criminally charged for throwing dog dirt at a child. She was never even disciplined by the College while another administrator was caught in the public plagiarizing her written work. Nothing happened to her…

The College last election had only 3% of their membership vote in the last election. That needs investigation but don't worry the secret will stay secret. They don’t talk about any of their total and complete failures.

Speak up for kids and you have signed a death wish to your career.

This information is very scary. What ever happen to role models in education?
Teachers get licenses back despite sexual abuse

$181,000 fine and penalty for protecting children
Black Ball

Romeo Dallaire throws support behind Jim Black and his dispute with the
College of Teachers

Canadians for Accountability

College of Teachers needs to step back and review its proceedings in the
James Black Case

$181,000 in penalty and lost income for supporting abused kids.

The First and only Independently Elected / Non Union Endorsed Candidate to Sit On

College of Teachers rules throwing Dog Dirt at students not important enough for Discipline Hearing. Misses face hits shoulder.