I am the daughter of a teacher. My memories of marking papers and playing games at the back of my mother’s grade two classroom are strong. Many August days at end of the summer, I worked with my Mom, steadying the ladder as she lovingly decorated her classroom. Teaching is a calling I respect. A teacher’s job can be hard, rewarding and trying all at once.
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However, as the parent of two girls in the school system and I am very often frustrated with education. Funding decisions, allocation of resources, and even teachers in my kid’s lives sometimes don’t meet my expectations. Over the years I have had legitimate occasions to disagree with my daughter’s teachers, question IEPs and challenge some decisions. As a parent, I have felt, at times discounted, ignored, annoyed, frustrated and angry. Occasionally I have felt valued as a team member, but not nearly as often as I would like.
From the time my kids were in senior kindergarten I took a strong interest in school events. For many years I sat on the Parent Teacher Association at my children’s school. I also volunteered at the school board and sat on the SEAC – special education advisory committee. When work here at my business, Thrifty Mom Media, became all encompassing I recently stopped volunteering.
One year, the Parent Teacher Association at my daughter’s school nominated one of our strongest teachers for a Premier’s Award. The annual awards recognize Ontario teachers who go above and beyond. When I was writing the recommendation, I interviewed the principal of the school and the other teachers, but I needed more information on this particular teacher’s education and history.
The Ontario College of Teachers web site is a great resource for the public. OCT web site has a public registry anyone can use to check teaching qualifications and history with the college. Plug in the teacher’s name and see when and where they went to school and any special qualifications they have to teach. Check the professional standards and aspirations of teachers here: http://www.oct.ca/public/professional-standards
One year, I checked out a teacher rumored to have a criminal complaint against him. That summer I heard he was scheduled to teach my daughter’s grade and I wanted to know the truth about any allegations. In fact the record did show some sort of disciplinary action had occurred. It didn’t state specifics, but it helped me to advocate for my child. I didn’t want her in that class and I didn’t want to take a chance on a year of her education being jeopardized. This situation concerned me even though I have faith in most Ontario teachers.
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The Ontario College of Teachers has several free educational tools and initiatives many parents don’t know about. Find out more about how qualified Ontario teachers are to serve our children’s needs and shape their education. https://www.oct.ca/public/public-awareness-initiative/
There is also a quarterly newsletter you can subscribe to. It’s called TheStandard
and it’s free.
Many resources exist for parents, and they help grow my confidence when I send my child off to school each day. You might not be able to control everything about the learning environment and the socialization that takes place at school, but you can take an active approach to staying involved. The OCT web site helps you to know how qualified your child’s teachers are. That’s valuable to me, as a parent and a taxpayer.
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The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates Ontario teachers. You can follow them on twitter and Facebook. https://www.twitter.com/OCT_OEEO/
This post was sponsored by the Ontario College of Teachers. I was compensated as a result. My opinion is my own.