2009 saw the election of the College’s fifth Council. I am grateful for the confidence that my colleagues on Council have in me to represent our profession as the fifth Chair of Council.

I look forward to the opportunities this post will provide to share with the public, parents and the profession my pride in being a teacher and to promote teachers’ integrity and professionalism in building our students’ future.

The theme of this year’s annual report is Building for the Future. It recognizes the roles that teachers play in Ontario’s classrooms and the impact each individual has on the lives of students.

Every day across Ontario, teachers experience the satisfaction of seeing students’ faces light up with pride when they are learning. Being a teacher means having the unique privilege to help students develop their skills and a wide range of abilities.

That is why I am very pleased that the College Council has established a professional designation for teachers that indicates that each member is in fact an Ontario Certified Teacher.

The OCT designation – trademarked and launched by the College in the fall of 2009 - tells our students, parents and the public that our ethical standards and standards of practice guide and help inspire the work of teachers everyday.

The Quality Assurance Committee played an important role in researching and in developing the trademark designation in response to College members’ clear support for this measure to promote teachers’ professionalism.

Both the English and French designations – Ontario Certified Teacher or enseignante agréée de l’Ontario / enseignant agréé de l’Ontario, as well as their abbreviations – are now official marks of the College for its exclusive use.

It’s the first time in the history of Ontario education that teachers in this province have a professional designation. In fact, this is a first for Canadian educators.

The College Council grants the OCT designation to members in good standing. The designation signifies that teachers:

  • are certified and qualified to teach in Ontario’s publicly funded schools
  • possess distinct knowledge and skills specific to teaching
  • engage in ongoing learning throughout their career
  • belong to a community of highly educated, responsible and caring practitioners who are committed to helping Ontario students develop and succeed.

During the year, the College fine-tuned the details of a groundbreaking update of teacher certification in the province with the Ontario government. The proposed wide-ranging changes to teacher qualifications will help to improve educator preparedness for the classrooms of tomorrow.

The College’s 2006 study, Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow, identified many changes we needed to make the way we prepare teachers for the classroom and for professional certification.

Most of Ontario’s regulatory bodies – those in the health professions and the Law Society of Upper Canada – have the right to impose publication bans to protect the identities of victims or vulnerable witnesses.

The College currently does not. But we hope that is about to change.

At its November meeting, Council proposed amendments to the Ontario College of Teachers Act that would give the College Discipline Committee the jurisdiction to issue a binding publication ban. The recommendation has been forwarded to the Ministry of Education.

By law, the College’s discipline hearings are open to the public, and members of the media regularly attend and report on the proceedings. Students are sometimes requested to give testimony before the College’s Discipline Committee.

During these hearings, the College Discipline Committee panels have the authority, under the Act, to direct that the names of victims of abuse or exploitation not be published in the College magazine.

Discipline panels, however, do not have the power to prevent the news media from publishing information about public hearings and their results.

In January, Council announced the appointment of Michael Salvatori as our new Registrar and Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of Brian McGowan.

Michael joined the College as a program officer in the Accreditation Unit and was the College’s Director of Membership Services from 2005 to 2008. He initially came to the College from the London Catholic DSB where he worked as a vice-principal and principal and taught at the elementary and secondary levels. He taught Core French, French immersion and German, and is the author or co-author of numerous French textbooks and teacher resources. We look forward to working productively with him.

In 2009, the College’s Foundation named William Snodgrass as our seventh Joseph W. Atkinson scholarship recipient. William, a teacher candidate at OISE, has majored in percussion and music education at the University of Toronto.

The young music grad already holds an impressive resume of teaching and volunteering experience. Throughout his high school and undergraduate studies, he won several awards and scholarships for outstanding musical and academic achievements.

Snodgrass ran volunteer music and drama programs for children and young adults with disabilities. For several years he taught drums and piano to children at a private music school in Mississauga, and he has taught the fundamentals of technology-based home music recording at a west-end music store that sells recording equipment.

In the summer of 2008 he won a gold medal for his work designing and implementing a music program for young day campers. Teaching six classes a day with 25 children per class, he incorporated percussion instruments, music appreciation, movement, song, world music, imaginative play and dramatic arts into what he calls a holistic and fun learning experience. The College is proud to honour such an exemplary future teacher.

Council members have shown a real commitment to speaking up for the profession in the public interest. College staff members work hard to ensure that our members get the best service possible. They support the teaching profession every day through the expertise and commitment they bring to their work. To all of them, I offer my admiration and thanks.

Signature: Liz Papadopoulos

Liz Papadopoulos, OCT

Council Chair