One of the reasons we left Toronto for The Cornfield was so that I could work less and be more involved in my children’s daily life, including within their school community. Four years later, both of my children are in school and thriving, and I have made good on my promise to be involved. I have been School Council Chair for three years, and am about to wrap up my two-year term as the Co-Chair of the Parent Involvement Committee for our board. I have had the opportunity to get to know our students and teachers in a lovely, organic, small-town way – in the halls of the school and on the streets around town.But in my dual roles as parent and parent-liaison, I remain keenly aware of the fact that most of us release our children into the hands of the unknown, and so I do my best to not only reassure other parents, but to encourage them to be as involved as possible in their children’s school community. For some, that could mean attending meetings or volunteering their time, but all of us can empower ourselves and our children by gaining knowledge about our children’s teachers, and the standards that guide their daily practice.
The Ontario College of Teachers exists to regulate the profession of teaching in Ontario, and to set the very highest professional and ethical standards for public school teachers. The College also approves teacher training programs at faculties of education and accredits professional development courses. This means our teachers possess a distinct set of knowledge and skills that equip them for the classroom, have opportunities for continued training, and adhere to clear principles of conduct and practice.
Knowing that our public school teachers are qualified professionals, certified by the College, should offer parents peace of mind that the right people are teaching our children. But if broad strokes only go so far to allay anxieties, and your child only gives you single-syllable answers to questions about their classroom, there are ways to learn more:
Sign up for the free College newsletter, The Standard and get up-to-date information on changes in education legislation, reports on trends in education, and more, or for a closer look at a specific teacher, utilize the College’s Find a Teacher database. Search the public register for certification years, education, any disciplinary history, and status within the College.
Our kids are in school for many hours a day, for many years of their early life.
We can’t all volunteer for lunch duty or be at the doors when they swing open every day at three o’clock. But we can be involved and empowered by understanding the regulations our teachers must adhere to and, indeed, uphold every day as they help our kids grow, develop and succeed.
We do everything we can to prepare our kids for their day – isn’t it good to know that The Ontario College of Teachers does everything they can to prepare the people we hand our children off to?
The views in this post are my own, and I have received fair compensation for them.