Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where did 2011 go?

Well, here we are, nearing another end of year!  This will be our last Wednesday blog posting for 2011.

We're planning for and excited about various PD events for the rest of the school year.  Some of which include:  Boutique PD at the TVOT offices in the months of January and February, March 7th, 2012, PD at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn and April 20th, 2012, Designated Paid PD Event at Althouse College. 
Once again, registration for the Jan. and Feb. boutique style PD along with the March 7th, Lamplighter events will be accepted via email at .  Registration for the April 20th PD will be completed on-line through the Board- (PLEASE AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS AS TO WHEN AND HOW TO REGISTER FOR APRIL 20th at ALTHOUSE).     
Look out for our winter edition of The Supply Line which will have more details about the above events along with pertinent information for you!  Important information is always made available to you in our website: and on our Wednesday Blog and Twitter account.  It is in your best interest to regularly read these sources.
As we all rush around frantically, to complete tasks at work and prepare for some time off, your President and Executive would like to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Be a Confident Occasional Teacher

Students most readily accept a confident and prepared Occasional Teacher.  Be enthusiastic, sensitive to the needs of the students and try to familiarize yourself with their routines.

At the office:
  • Introduce yourself to the Principal and if needed, seek assistance in a professional manner.
  • Be concise and positive in your conversation.
  • Show appreciation for the efforts of the secretary and custodian.
  • While you are checking out the school, the school is also looking at you.
In the classroom:
  • Greet the students at the door to quickly establish a rapport with the class.
  • Have an entry activity ready.
  • Be upbeat and confident.
  • Briefly state your expectations regarding behaviour with some "Just for today" rules.
  • Try to follow regular routines as much as possible.
Basics of discipline:
  • Be consistent in your enforcement of the rules with reasonable and appropriate consequences.
  • Monitor student behaviour at all times.
  • Manage misbehaviour immediately using strategies such as:
                         Pausing near trouble spots in the room (proximity
                         Pausing in your comments;
                         Calling on a student who is not paying attention to
                         respond, however, call the name before asking the
                         question so as not to embarrass the student;
                         Making lessons participatory as much as possible; and
                         Employing effective and prolonged eye contact.

If you want to be called back, be sure to: 
                        Teach what was outlined;
                        Follow established routines if possible;
                        Record what was accomplished;
                        Mark the day's assignments; and
                        Leave the room as you found it.

TIP:  Wear comfortable shoes.  A teacher on the move is most effective.
TIP:  Record the neat ideas you encounter, such as bulletin boards, displays, discipline procedures etc.
TIP:  Ask for an item from the student in exchange for an item borrowed.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The EduGAINS Portal

EduGAINS is the portal to resources developed and provided through the Ministry of Education and focused on learning – student learning, educator learning, and researcher learning about student and teacher learning. Go to for Math, Literacy and ELL resources such as:
  • Classroom-ready resources and supports including curriculum documents and instruction guides to support the Ministry’s “Growing Success” initiative;
  • Planning and implementation guides for teachers and professional learning facilitators;
  • Theoretical frameworks that underpin resource development and implementation;
  • Video interviews and other webcasts;
  • Differentiated Instruction Professional Learning Strategy Website
  • Videos of classrooms, coaching and professional learning episodes;
  • Research tools and papers, both print and digital;
  • Board-level implementation plans and advice;
  • Registration information for upcoming professional learning activities;
  • and, in the case of mathematics, interactive web-based modules for students.
On December 6th, Canadians marked the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, also the 22nd anniversary of the 14 women slain at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique by a man wielding a semi-automatic rifle.  It is a reality that women face every day."
As teachers, we are gravely concerned about this issue because we see the impact of violence against women on our students, some of whom may witness violence, or become its victim themselves.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Changes to Canada Pension Plan

If you started receiving a pension before December 31, 2010 and you remain in the work force you will not be affected.
However, starting in 2012, if you are between the ages of 60 and 70 and work while receiving a CPP retirement pension, you should be aware that:
  • if you are under 65 and work in Canada while receiving a CPP retirement pension, you and your employer will have to make CPP contributions
  • between the ages of 67 and 70, you can either make contributions or opt out.  If you make contributions, so must your employer
  • these contributions will increase your CPP retirement benefit through retirement
  • if you start receiving your monthly CPP pension in January 2012 or later, your monthly benefit amount will decrease by a larger percentage if taken before age 65; you no longer need an interruption in work to be eligible and you can drop a longer period of low/zero earnings from the calculation of your retirement benefit.
Note that if you are nearing retirement age, CPP security benefits are not provided automatically - you must apply for them and retroactive benefits are generally limited to no more than 12 months.
For more information visit or call 1-800-277-9914

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Write-off for Driving can be a Tricky Road

Excerpted from Financial Post, October 22, 2011 - written by Jamie Golombek, CA, CPA, CFP, CLU
If you drive to get to work, you're probably well aware that you can't write off the cost of getting to and from work as a legitimate employment expense.
Under the Income Tax Act, employees can only deduct amounts personally paid for travel if they are "ordinarily required to carry on the duties of the office or employment away from the employer's place of business or in different places" and their employer does not reimburse them for those expenses.
In addition, you need your employer's acknowledgement on a certified Form T2200 that you were indeed required to pay those expenses.
Recently, the CRA was asked whether a school board should be issuing Form T2200 to employees who are substitute teachers to allow them to deduct motor vehicle expenses incurred when travelling to the various schools under the board's jurisdiction.
The board, in its letter to the CRA, stated that it does not require its employees to have a driver's licence nor does it reimburse substitute teachers for any mileage or vehicle expenses with respect to travel to the various schools. It acknowledged, however, that it's not uncommon for the employee to receive short notice with respect to the teaching assignment and have only 30 minutes to reach the assigned school, implying that without a vehicle, it may be impossible for a teacher to reach the designated school in time.
While an employer is required to certify on Form T2200 that the necessary conditions of employment have been met, the employer is not required to actually determine whether the expenses are tax deductible. That being said, the CRA stated that it would only expect an employer to issue the form "where an employee has reasonable grounds to make such claims."
One of the conditions to make such a claim is that the employee was ordinarily required to carry on the duties of the office or employment away from the employer's place of business. But where is a substitute teacher's place of business?
The CRA stated that when a substitute teacher is hired by a school board to teach at any one of the schools under its jurisdiction, the employer's place of business is considered to be the particular school at which the substitute teacher has been assigned to teach on any particular day.
As a result, since on any given day a substitute teacher is assigned to one particular school, the requirement to work away from the employer's place of business is not met and thus the teacher can't claim any travel expenses nor should the board certify Form T2200 for its substitute teachers.
Curiously, a judge in a 2009 case found a substitute teacher's travel expenses to indeed be deductible because the employer's place of business was the board offices and not the "individual schoolrooms that [he] attended from day-to-day."
Clearly the CRA has not accepted this decision, which was heard under the informal procedure of the Tax Court and, as a result, is not legally precedential.
- Jamie Golombek, CA, CPA, CFP, CLU, TEP, is the managing director, tax and estate planning at CIBC Private Wealth Management in Toronto.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


$ Money
Pizza, drink, trips, fundraising, photo money...this is where a class list is handy.  Duplicate a copy of the list.  Check off the child's name. Use one column for the amount of money received and another column for the permission form etc. Immediately send the money and forms to the office and buzz to let them know that these are on their way. Leave the duplicate checklist for the Teacher.
Yard Duty
Be on time or early. Cut your class short to allow ample time to get the class ready (primary classes in winter can take ten minutes or more). If anything happens before you get out, you could be held accountable. After recess, double-check the playground for stragglers.
Take frequent headcounts during the day. If there's a fire drill and no class list, at least you'll know how many children you should have. Verify your head count numbers frequently during any class trips.
Bus Trips
You need at least three class lists: one for you, one for the school and one for the bus driver. Young children should have identification tags. Adults should have a list of the children in their care. Ensure children are safely seated on the bus. Take a headcount. Note the name of the bus driver, the bus company, the bus number and any identifying features of the bus - they all look alike in a parking lot.  Clarify the pick up time and place with the driver. Take frequent headcounts during the event. Bring grocery bags for children to stow their own hats, mittens etc. Allow for a bathroom break before you go on any trip.
Staff Room Manners
Pay for coffee if there's a fund. Wash your cup and wipe up spills. Ask before partaking on "treat day" though many staffs will offer.  If you're there often, bring in a treat for staff - your effort will buy much good will.  Never participate in discussions about students, other teachers, programmes, schools, parents, volunteers, etc. You are a professional.
Support Staff
E.A.s, secretaries, custodians etc. are invaluable. Try to establish and maintain a good rapport with all school staff.
The Facilities
If you can't wait to use the facilities, contact the office, librarian etc. to cover your class for a moment. Never leave the class unattended.
It's very difficult to keep on schedule but again, never leave a class unsupervised, especially if you are the one on the move. If you arrive to find a class unattended, make a personal note in case something comes up at a later date.
Ask for identification and check with the office before releasing a child to an adult. Visitors to a school are supposed to check in with the office before going to the class or out to a portable. Better to be safe than sorry.
Professional Attire
How we dress doesn't make a difference in how well we teach, but recent studies in the business world have prompted Fortune 500 companies to move from "casual" attire to "business casual" attire. We work actively with children so our attire must be comfortable and versatile, but first impressions do count.

Thank you to the organizers of the SMART Board workshops offered yesterday at Wilfrid Jury P.S. Over 118 participants attended 9 workshops focusing on various SMART Board topics and all that can be accomplished with them.
Upcoming Professional Development 
Boutique Style Professional Development, offered on Tuesday November 22, 2011 at the OT Offices, 521 Nottinghill Road, Suite 8 in London will focus on The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades.  As a result of overwhelming demand, we are pleased to offer another session on Tuesday November 29, 2011, also to be held at the OT Offices, from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  A light supper will once again, be provided to those attending.  Space is limited. Please Register by email - by noon Friday November 25, 2011.


At the scenic ELM HURST INN, 415 Harris Street, in Ingersoll from 4:30 - 7:30 PM on Thursday, November 24, 2011.  Please register by email - as soon as possible.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Should You Be A Volunteer?

Many new Occasional Teachers wonder if volunteering in the schools will help them obtain more occasional work.
Should you give away your years of training and considerable expertise for free? Does providing such services at no cost encourage the school boards and the ministry to properly fund education or does it send a different message? Only you can decide whether volunteering is right for you. You should be aware however, that whether you volunteer in a school or in your community, such activities are outside ETFO's mandate to protect it's members. Accordingly, any legal issues that might arise would be your own responsibility.
For that reason, ETFO frequently warns its members about volunteering for activities which are not connected to teaching assignments, and which involve potential legal risks. These activities may include coaching a sports team in the community, home instruction, driving families or students to social or sporting events on weekends or after school, camping activities with students or community members, or other similar activities. All these activities involve the teacher as a community member in his or her individual capacity, not as an ETFO member performing the daily work of teaching.
Yes, it can be difficult establishing yourself as a new Occasional Teacher.  Marketing yourself through word of mouth, handing out business cards, talking to principals, secretaries, and permanent Teachers, as well as doing the best possible job in you occasional teaching is essential.


November is a very busy PD month with the following events:
  1. SMART Board Workshops held at Wilfrid Jury Public School, 950 Lawson Road in London. Tuesday, November 15th 4:30 - 7:30 PM  Light Dinner and Drinks provided.  Twelve workshops focusing on various interests and skill levels are being offered.  We ask that you select 3 - we will try to accommodate your first choice where possible. Please visit to view descriptions of the 12 workshops being offered so you can make your selections.                 
  2. Boutique Style PD on Tuesday, November 22, 2011.  Your Local is proud to host a series of after school workshops limited to 15 participants per session.  Workshops are held at our OT Offices, 521 Nottinghill Road, Suite 8 in London and a light supper will be provided.  The Daily Five Boutique: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades. An Introduction and Overview - Keeping abreast of current teaching practices is important for all Occasional Teachers. This crash course for the uninitiated will introduce members to the 'Daily Five' approach to creating independent literacy learners in the classroom. 
Register for both events by email -

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ETFO Destination AQs and other Opportunities for Members

ETFO is pleased to offer another exciting option to their AQ course offerings - Destination AQs. Consider gaining an AQ qualification as you study in:
France:  French as a Second Language Parts 1,2, and Specialist
Greece:  English as a Second Language Parts 1,2, and Specialist
Italy:      Kindergarten Parts 1,2, and Specialist
Spain:    Special Education Parts 1,2, and Specialist
Offered in July 2012, these courses are comprised of 60 hours of online instruction and 40 hours of face-to-face instruction occurring in the destination country.  For details, please visit the ETFO website at  Registration deadline is December 1, 2011 but these are filling fast. Let ETFO AQs take you somewhere unexpected!  For more information, please contact Nancy Baldree, extension 2247  at the provincial office.


Back by popular demand, SMART Board Workshops will be offered by the Local after school on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at Wilfrid Jury P.S.,  950 Lawson Road in London.  Workshops will run from 4:30 - 7:30 PM and a light dinner will be provided.  Register by email at indicating preference by order.   These are very popular workshops so register early to avoid disappointment. Registration closes at noon - November 11, 2011. Details on each session will be posted soon on our website.

We call them Boutique PD Events because they provide professional development of smaller interest and are limited to 15 participants per session.  Workshops are held after school at our OT Offices at 521 Nottinghill Road, Suite 8 in London and a light supper will be provided.  This year our first boutique will be offered Tuesday, November 22nd. The Daily Five Boutique: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades. An Introduction and Overview - Keeping abreast of current teaching practices is important for all Occasional Teachers.  This crash course for the uninitiated will introduce members to the 'Daily Five' approach to creating independent literacy learners in the classroom. Register by email at


If you would like to mingle with your peers and have a say in what your Local is doing, be sure to attend the Fall General Meeting and Banquet at the picturesque Elm Hurst Inn and Spa just off Hwy 401 in Ingersoll, November 24th, 2011 from 4:30 - 7:30pm.  Enjoy a wonderful Christmas Buffet Dinner of Carved Roast Top Sirloin of Beef au Jus, Roast Ontario Turkey with Apple & Sage Dressing and gravy, Whipped Potatoes, Sweet Yams and a Vegetable Medley. Mediterranean Vegetable Strudel will also be offered for any vegetarians.  Please register at by noon November 17, 2011.  There is no charge for members but 24 hours notice is required to cancel your spot or you will be charged for the cost of the meal.
In keeping with the spirit of the season and mindful of the plight of children in our own community, we will  once again, be collecting donations for Merrymount's Family Support and Crisis Centre. We ask that you  consider their wish list and to bring a donation to the meeting: Warm pyjamas, winter coats and snow pants, hats & toques, pants, shirts and sweatshirts, socks, underwear, all sizes, mittens (waterproof), winter boots and shoes, gift cards, movie passes, new books, art & craft supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, new toys for birthdays, holidays, non perishable food items.
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Assertive Versus Aggressive Behavior

We are constantly challenged by aggressive and intimidating individuals. ETFO Provincial recently released a PRS memo to reminds us that it is important to understand the behaviour of threatening people and learn how to respond.  If you normally respond passively to such individuals because you fear reprisal, or rejection you become the victim and the situation will worsen.  Don't give such people power over you! If you do nothing your stress level can lead to more serious issues for you and your students. Prolonged stress causes poor performance, moodiness, relationship issues, and physical illness.  You may not be able to change the "bully" but you certainly can and need to change the negative impact they are having on you!

Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive Behaviour
The Dictionary defines aggression as:
1) Any unprovoked attack.
2) An act of attitude of hostility, usually arising from feelings of inferiority or frustration.

Aggression makes some individuals feel better by forcing their point of view on others, hurting their feelings, and building resentment.  As teachers, we intervene in student bullying situations. Yet some of us allow ourselves to be emotionally devastated by a colleague treating us the same way.

The Dictionary defines assertion as:
1) A positive statement; declaration.
2) An insisting on one's right, a claim, etc.

To assert one's self means to put oneself forward; make oneself noticed, and insist on one's rights. An assertive person is able to stand up to others and deal with each issue at hand.  Assertiveness skills can be learned and will not only resolve many interpersonal problems but will build confidence, self-respect, and improved relationships with peers.

What not to do:  remain passive
Occasional and probationary teachers often state that they fear an unsatisfactory evaluation from an intimidating principal. Others do not want to be alienated on staff, or assume their peers know how they are feeling! To this, we say "beware of assumptions that have not been checked out". Contact your Federation to discuss the situation. Be careful not to confuse "keeping the peace" with remaining "passive".

What not to do:  fight aggression with aggression 
Think twice. How is this going to end up? Aggression is emotion out of control.
Your intent should be to move forward to a more positive working environment.

You will always encounter people who have to argue about everything and impose their views aggressively on others.  However, there is another kind of person who calmly and confidently asserts themselves without hurting others. Which do you want to be?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Social Media and Advice to Members

ETFO continues to support the responsible use of social media as an excellent teaching tool, provided it adheres to professional standards.  ETFO warns it members that anything they post can be: forwarded, taken out of context, copied, manipulated and becomes impossible to remove from cyberspace.

"Friending students; posting pictures of partying, or sending overly casual messages or texts to students, parents or others may lead to professional difficulties that you may not anticipate. While the use of technology has changed dramatically over time, the standards of professionalism have not changed. Interactions must be respectful, courteous, professional and boundaries must be maintained. Members are expected to be friendly, but not "friends" with their students.

ETFO has seen an increase in cyberbullying by electronic media in the education community. Members of ETFO can be target of this. Sometimes members initiate careless electronic communication which may have unintended, but grave professional consequences.

Some tips:
  1. Communication with parents, students and other members of the education community is best done verbally or face to face in a professional and structured manner;
  2. Casual, off hand, joking remarks or expressions of support via electronic media are easily misconstrued;
  3. Pictures of you, chat discussions you initiate or participate in, and email or text messages between you and others create a permanent record. Reflect on your electronic postings;
  4. Advise friends and family not to post pictures of you on social media sites without first asking your consent;
  5. Slow down. Don't press "send" until you evaluate whether or not your postings, texts, emails will be considered professional and appropriate in the education community;
  6. You are not your students' "friend". You are their teacher and must maintain a professionally appropriate relationship. In doubt, call to find out.
ETFO has previously distributed a variety of publications on the topic of the appropriate professional use of electronic communication - see PRS Matters Volumes 48, 46 and 25 and VOICE articles from December 2008 - Cyberbullying and October 2007 - Think Before you Click. These are available on the ETFO website.
Staff in Professional Relations (PRS) can be reached at  416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836
See also ETFO's website - Advice for Members

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some Topics that will be of Interest to You....

About Time and Your Collective Agreement  

Negotiated Time
  • No duties prior to commencement of first morning if full day assignment or first afternoon of a PM assignment (Art. 18.03) Board encourages us to use this time to prepare; violating this entitlement makes it harder for the next OT  
  • Same timetable as the Teacher being replaced includes duties and prep times (Art. 18.02) Just as the permanent Teacher directs how they use prep time, so does the Occasional Teacher; you cannot be assigned duties during this time
  • Minimum 40 consecutive minutes of unassigned lunch time (Art. 18.04)
  • AM half day assignment ends no later than 20 minutes after instruction (Art. 18.06)
  • Ten days notice or pay in lieu of notice if LTO terminated by early return of Teacher (Art. 5.07 b)
Home Instructors
If you are considering being a TVDSB Home Instructor, you should know that your membership in ETFO and the benefits of that membership apply only to work done in the elementary system as an Occasional Teacher.  Should you choose to do home instruction you are not covered under the protection of ETFO.

Accidents and Near Misses on the Job
It is your obligation under the law to fill out an Employee Accident Incident Report for injuries requiring first aid or time off work; hazardous situations or near-misses and incidents of physical/verbal aggressive behaviour. Forms are located at the office and must be completed for WSIB coverage.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vote Because Education Matters!

Your vote tomorrow will have a powerful impact on all public services and the future of our province. The party that governs us has a profound impact on our public education system, our students’ learning conditions, and our working conditions. Teachers need to exercise their right to vote and to help elect representatives who will continue the progress made in public education over the past eight years.   Ontario deserves a government that will continue to invest in education. We have a responsibility to protect our students and their future.

September and October can be slow months for teaching positions, so we urge you to take this opportunity to build your professional portfolio by attending and participating in as much Professional Development as you can.  There are several venues you can check to see what is available to you.  They are: 
  • The Board's Employee Portal - provided there is space available, without pay.
  • The Thames Valley Occasional Teachers' Local Professional Development - our first opportunity will be the SMART Board workshops at Wilfrid Jury P.S. in mid-November.  Check our website in a few weeks for further details.  N.B. You are not eligible for PD offered by the Permanent Teachers' Local because their events are funded by their members.
  • Take the time to review the Ministry of Education's document: "Growing for Success" and try to incorporate that philosophy into your teaching.  
  • You can take advantage of on-line training offered by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)as well as the Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF).  Go to or for further information.     
Lastly, if you are a Newly Graduated Teacher, the Local wants to support you as you begin this challenging career.  If you are in your first 5 years of occasional teaching and wish to have input into forums, workshops and bargaining initiatives specific to your needs, please join us for a meeting on October 11, 2011 at the OT Offices, 5PM.  Space is limited to 15 members and we will provide a light meal.
Register by email by October 7th if you are interested in participating.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From the Office

We're well into the 2011 - 2012 school year and have had queries regarding the following at the office that you may have questions about or need information on as well:

1) Thank you to everyone who have advised us of a change to your personal information, be it address, name, telephone number etc.  It is very important that your contact information be current with the following:
  • ETFO - TVOT Local by phone or email
  • the Board of Education by Employee Portal > Personal Information
  • College of Teachers   
  • Your Apply to Education Account
2)  The newsletter - The Supply Line, the Collective Bargaining Survey and the pocket calendars have been mailed to everyone this past week.  Please complete the survey and return it to our office - it is very important to your future that we have your input.  Please read over the Supply Line and contact the office with any questions or if you require any further information.

3) There was an error in the pocket calendar regarding the number of days paid for the first pay for LTOs, the correct number is 4 and not 5 and indicated for the Aug 28 - Sept. 10 2011 pay period.  The first day to count from is September 6.

4)  The SMART Board PD training is being planned for November 15th, 2011 at Wilfrid Jury P.S.  Details on session will follow in due course.

5) Get in the habit of checking TVDSB's First Class.  Though the Union does not communicate with members by way of First Class, the Board does. This is how your employer contacts you with important information so we recommend you check your mailbox on a weekly basis, at the least. As well, this is where you will find LTO postings -  in the Occasional Teachers' Conference

5) Check the TVDSB Home page for information on Board Policies and Procedures e.g., Footwear Policy and to keep up to date with what is going on across the valley.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Advice for Members

The ETFO Provincial website offers many important sections of information and guidance to its members.  One section that is quite beneficial is  Advice for Members.

ETFO members face a daily work environment characterized by ever-increasing levels of complexity and challenge.  ETFO issues Advisories to Members on various issues of concern, giving direction on government and agency initiatives.  For the past few years, ETFO has kept members informed on a variety of important legal and professional issues impacting on education workers through its bulletin PRS MATTERS. Archived topics include: "Student Parent Custody Issues", "Defamatory Websites and Social Networking Pages" and "Maintaining Professional Relationships Among All Educators".

This section contains advice for members from PRS Matters and other sources, and aims to prevent situations that could threaten an individual member's career or the status of our profession.
Members are advised to consult Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at 416-962-3836 or 1888-838-3836 for more information on any of the issues covered in this website section. 

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) represents more than 76,000 Elementary Teachers, Occasional Teachers, Designated Early Childhood Educators, and educational  and professional support personnel in elementary schools across Ontario.  ETFO is known as one of the foremost providers of teacher professional learning in Canada and is gaining a reputation for its work internationally.

As an Occasional Teacher, you have many resources to tap into - always know your Local will be here to help you as well!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ETFO Members Can Have a Significant Impact on Election Outcome

Much is at stake in the October 6 provincial election.  The party that wins will determine the viability of the new full-day kindergarten program, the future of smaller elementary class size, and the overall quality of education in our schools.  Depending on which party is elected, as part of the public sector, ETFO members' salary and benefits could also become a target of government retrenchment.

Making Education a Priority

Your Federation is working hard to make  the provincial parties, candidates, and the voting public aware of our key issues.  Last fall, ETFO released Building Better Schools, an election platform that outlines five key building blocks for improving elementary education.  The was broadly distributed and has formed the basis of discussions at Queen's Park and at meeting's of ETFO local presidents with their MPPs.  Locals are using a brochure based on the platform to promote our issues at all-candidates' meetings.  If you haven't had a chance to read it, please check the platform on the ETFO website.

Having an Impact

Recent polls indicate that the election is developing into a three-way race among the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, and New Democrats.  The final outcome could be determined by slim margins in a handful of ridings.  Because of the tight races, our more than 76,000 members can have a real impact on the outcome.  You can have  an impact by voting; you can have an even greater impact by volunteering some of your time to an election campaign - whether it's just for a few hours or longer.  Making an important decision such as this requires learning as much as we can about the various parties' platforms and track records.

As you consider which candidate to endorse, here is a brief synopsis of the track records for the NDP, PC and Liberal Parties:

NDP - 1990 - 1995  Premier:  Bob Rae
  • Extended pregnancy and parental leave
  • Introduced teacher pension reform
  • Introduced major labour reforms
  • Appointed Royal Commission on Learning
  • Mandated provision of junior kindergarten
  • Expanded pay equity
  • Mandated employment equity
  • Invoked 3-year salary cut through unpaid days: Social Contract
PC - 1995 - 2003  Premier: Mike Harris/Ernie Eves
  • Introduced EQAO testing
  • Introduced the College of Teachers
  • Introduced mandatory teacher recertification
  • Introduced a Teacher qualifying test
  • School board amalgamation
  • Cut education funding significantly
  • Cancelled mandatory JK
  • Gave private school tuition tax credits
  • New curriculum without in-service, resources
  • Standardized report card
  • Passed Bill 160 which   
                           *removed Principals/VPs from the federations
                           *removed right to negotiate class size
                           *cancelled five PA days
                           *removed the ability of school boards to raise taxes
  • Introduced zero tolerance policy for student discipline
  • Mandated extra-curricular activities for secondary teachers
  • Prescribed teachers' duties to undermine work-to rule activities
Liberals 2003 - 2011
  • Cancelled teacher recertification
  • Cancelled teacher qualifying test
  • Reformed College of Teachers
  • Introduced New Teacher Induction Program
  • Cancelled private school tuition tax credit
  • Increased education funding
  • Introduced primary class size cap
  • Introduced Early Learning Program / Full Day Kindergarten
  • Restored two of the five PA days cut by Tories
  • Fully funded elementary preparation time
  • Failed to reach successful provincial framework for ETFO negotiations in fall 2008
  • Launched School Information Finder
  • Shelved gender identity and sexual health sections of revised curriculum document
  • Weakened policy related to Early Learning extended day programs
We urge everyone to vote - Because Education Matters!



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We're Back!!

Welcome back to school year 2011-2012!  We hope everyone had a good summer and that you're ready to meet, greet and educate!
Your Executive had a day-long meeting at the office yesterday, planning and making arrangements for a busy and exciting year ahead for you, our members.
Local Events for the year are:
October          Smart Boards PD - Location, date and time to be announced
                        Local PD Boutiques -  after school at the OT Offices,
                        topics and date to be announced
November 24  Fall General Meeting - Elm Hurst Inn  from 4:30 - 7:30 PM
January           Local PD Boutiques - after school at the OT Offices,
                        topics and date to be announced
February         Local PD Boutiques  - after school at the OT Offices,
                        topics and date to be announced
March 7          Local PD Event - Lamplighter Inn  from 4:30 - 7:30 PM
April 20           Designated PA Day - Althouse College, all day
May 24           Annual Meeting/Elections - Lamplighter Inn, 4:30 - 7:30 PM
Remember AQ's will get you the interview - PD will get you the job!

We want you to be aware of a new and important document entitled:  Growing Success   which is a comprehensive document regarding assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario Schools.  You can download it from the Thames Valley District School Boards' homepage at  Once in, scroll down the left-hand column and click on "Assessment and Evaluation" for the New Growing Success Document. 

 We are in the process of completing the layout and getting the ever-valuable pocket-calendars ready for delivery at the end of September. Please read the information in these calendars carefully and contact our office with any questions. 
On this note, you will notice many school changes.  The following is the list of approved names of new and consolidated schools in the Thames Valley District as well as some address changes:

 Ingersoll Area:
  • Laurie Hawkins Public School is the name of the school under construction in Garnett Elliott Park on Innes Street.  From Sept. - Dec. the address is 210 Thames St. S. N5C 2T5- phone # 519-485-2340.  From Jan. - June, the address will be 156 Innes St.,  N5C 2R8 - phone 519-485-5626.
  • Princess Anne Public School was renamed Royal Roads Public School.
  • Harris Heights was renamed Harrisfield Public School.
  •  West London French Immersion Elementary School will become West Oaks French Immersion Public School located on the site of Westdale P.S. - 1050 Plantation Road, London, Ont. N6H 2Y5
St. Thomas:
  • Edward Street Public School has been renamed June Rose Callwood Public School.
  • D. M. Sutherland Public School in Woodstock was renamed Winchester Street Public School for its address.
  • Hillcrest Public School will become the new home to Tollgate Central French Immersion Public School and be named Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School.
  • North Norwich P.S. 640 Main St. S., Box 40, Burgessville, Ontario  N0J 1C0  Ph. 519-424-9815.
  • Otterville P.S.  318 Main St. W. Otterville, Ontario  N6G 1R6  Ph. 519-879-1108
  • South Ridge P.S.  10 South Ridge Rd.,  Tillsonburg, Ontario  N4G 0C1
As mentioned, all these changes will be in the new pocket calendars which we anticipate to be ready for mailing at the end of September.

 Have a great first week back!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can it Be?

Well here we are - 7 days left until the end of the school year.  As everyone is busy cleaning out classrooms and desks, we too are busy planning for next year's school year.  2010 - 2011 brought many an opportunity for Professional Development for the elementary Occasional Teacher and we were pleased to see how many of you took advantage of these very beneficial events. 
In a nutshell, next year's tentative PD schedule looks like this:

October 2011:     SMARTBoard PD (always fully registered when offered)
Oct/ Nov 2011:    PD Boutiques offered at the offices of ETFO TVOT
Nov  24  2011  :     Fall General Meeting at Elm Hurst Inn, Ingersoll
Feb/ Mar 2012:    PD Boutiques offered at the offices of ETFO TVOT
March 7 2012 :    PD Evening Meeting at Lamplighter Inn, London
April 20, 2012:     Designated Paid PD at Althouse College (includes AM and PM sessions)
May 24, 2012:     Spring General Meeting and Elections at Lamplighter Inn, London

All events will be detailed in our Fall, Winter and Spring newsletters.

We are currently working on finalizing the handy pocket calendars that will be mailed to you in September. Please remember to refer to these as we go to great lengths to include accurate information and contacts that are very pertinent to the OT. 

Regarding LTOs, the second round of LTO assignments will be posted on First Class under the Occasional Teachers’ Folder on August 15th 

Those LTOs currently in a continuous assignment which extends beyond 3 months will be paid an additional $8.00 per day worked (pro-rated for part-time) in addition to regular salary, in lieu of benefits, commencing the fourth working month.  This amount includes vacation pay and     statutory holiday pay. This is the second installment for full year LTOs and it will come with your July 15th pay.

As well, if you expressed an Interest in an Elementary Teaching Position and received an evaluation this year, submit your receipt for single board Apply to Education subscription to Sandi Douglas at the Board for reimbursement per Article 17.03 of the Agreement.

This will be our last Wednesday Blog posting for the school year.  We thank you for reading and hope you found it beneficial.  We look forward to resuming on Wednesdays in September. 

Have a safe, enjoyable and relaxing summer! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Hiring Process

We have received several enquiries this past week from members pertaining to the hiring process and how it unfolds. 
In a nutshell, there are three (3) rounds of hiring for permanent teachers. Initially, it is an internal process for permanent teachers only.  Occasional Teachers cannot apply at this point.  Once Round 3 is completed, the Board reviews what positions have been filled, what jobs may still be available, complete any and all transfers, etc.  Only when Round 3 is completed will the postings be available on "Apply to Education" - these may be available by June-end, where these postings will be up and open for application by the OT.

Please refer to your Collective Agreement - Article 17.04
a) When interviews are conducted for a position posted at the completion of the internal elementary staffing process, at least three (3) Occasional Teachers who have indicated an Interest in an Elementary Teaching Position, and who are qualified for the posted position and who apply for the posted position, shall receive an interview when interviews are conducted for the posted position for a school.
c) If an external candidate and a member from the Occasional Teacher List are under consideration for a position, and all other factors are equal, the member from the Occasional Teacher List will receive the appointment.

On another note, with regards to LTOs that have just been posted on 1st class, the Board will release an LTO to take a permanent position but will not release an LTO to take another or  more desirable LTO.

Additional LTOs will be posted on First Class > Occasional Teachers' Folder on August 15th.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Your Pension is Safe!

On June 3, 2011, The Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF) and the Ontario government agreed to a three-part plan to address the projected $17.2 billion funding shortfall in the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The plan, which is subject to final approval by OTF and the government, includes:
  • A 1.1% contribution rate increase, phased in over the next three years
  • Slightly smaller annual cost-of-living increases for teachers who retired after 2009
  • Recognizing the current contribution rate as the permanent base rate
The pension plan board increased the rate of return assumption used in the 2011 funding valuation to 3.25% from 3.15%, a move that reduced the size of the shortfall.  This change was made possible by measures introduced to resolve the 2011 shortfall, which reduced the plan's funding risk.
The rate of return assumption, also called the discount rate assumption, plays a critical role in projecting whether or not the pension plan has enough assets to meet its future pension obligations.  A lower discount rate assumption increases the projected cost of pensions; a higher assumption lowers this cost.

In taking action now, OTF and the government addressed the current shortfall and will file a funding valuation with the provincial pension regulator one year earlier than required.  An earlier filing avoids potentially more dramatic changes that likely would be necessary if next year's valuation were filed, and provides time for possible improvements in factors, such as real interest rates, that affect pension costs.  A valuation filed with the regulator must show future assets and future liabilities are in balance - there cannot be a shortfall.
OTF, the government and the pension plan continue to work together to examine the plan's long-term funding challenges stemming from member demographics, plan maturity, uncertain economic conditions and other factors.  The three parties will continue to study ways to keep the Teachers' pension plan secure and affordable well into the future.
For more information, visit the plan funding section of

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 30th PD Day Clarification

We are in receipt of numerous requests for clarification regarding the June 30th P.D. Day.  Some members are asking how they can participate and where it will be held.
The June 30th PD Day is the day that OTs will receive a day's pay for working providing all 21 on-line training modules* are completed.  These are the Mandatory On-Line Training that you must complete.  It is accessed by going to the Employee Portal under Staff Development and Training/Mandatory Training.
So, there is no PD to actually "go to".  It is the day that all OTs will be paid for completing the Mandatory On-Line Training, by June 30th, 2011.
* Please note that the Domestic Violence module is in development and will not be available until the next school year. 

Our Spring General Meeting on May 26th, at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn was a wonderful success.  We held Elections for our Local and we are pleased to announce your New Executive for 2011-2012:

Returning President and Chief Negotiator (two year term; no election this year) - Terry Card
1st Vice-President - Nancy Springer
2nd Vice-President - Sheri-Lynn Honyust
Treasurer - Lorna Wilson
Secretary - Gina Droppo
Executive:  Health and Safety - Carrie Heiter
Executive at Large - Donna Leonard
Executive at Large - Angela Mitchell
Executive at Large - Vivek Nath

Congratulations and thank you to each of our Executive members for their dedication and hard work for our Local.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Chances

As May draws to a close let us remind you:
  • Space is limited but there is room left for anyone interested in attending and being a part of the Annual Spring General Meeting at the Lamplighter Inn. You can register by either emailing or calling 519-641-3936. Receive a hard copy of your Collective Agreement, enjoy a lovely dinner with your peers and elect your Executive.  This is your forum to discuss the issues and meet those who will represent you.
  • There is still time to submit your application for a $25 dollar book rebate.  Check the latest newsletter or your Local website for an application form and submit before May 31st.
  • Remember that your bargaining team is counting on you to identify your priorities so that we can address these in our preliminary submission.  Take a few moments to participate in the bargaining survey posted on our website  The survey is available until May 31st to allow you another opportunity to influence your working conditions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Category A1 Rating

All Occasional Teachers must be evaluated by QECO to obtain a salary placement beyond Category A1, the daily rate.  A QECO evaluation may result in one of four category placements:  Category A1 through Category A4, depending on individual academic criteria, as determined by Program 5.  Those in a long-term assignment have until July 31st to provide the Board with a Qualifications Rating Statement and any supporting documents for retroactive adjustment.  After receiving a QECO evaluation, it is the Occasional Teacher's responsibility to submit the new QECO rating to Sandi Douglas in Human Resource Services at the Board for the appropriate salary category placement.  Visit for further details.  N.B. a copy of your pay statement from the Employee Portal is sufficient proof of employment.

On another note, it's time to think about your future and completing the Bargaining Survey.  Your current Collective Agreement expires August 31, 2012.  The deadline might seem far off, but to those of us who negotiate on your behalf, it is time to begin work on your preliminary submission.  One way we identify local bargaining goals is to solicit input from the general membership by means of a survey.  We have posted the link to our Collective Bargaining Survey on our website: for the month of May.  Please help to determine your workingconditions by taking a few minutes to participate in this assessment of your needs.  If you have any questions or wish to discuss an issue before you respond, please contact your Chief Negotiator, Terry Card at 519-641-3936/

TVARRIS Focus Group:  Human Resources Services Manager, John Cuddie is interested in meeting with a focus group of 15 elementary Occasional Teachers to discuss TVARRIS.  If you are willing to participate in an after school meeting to be held mid-June, please email us at  We will forward the names of those interested to HRS by May 31, 2011.  There are currently 12 names on the panel with room for 3 more.

Lastly, don't miss our Annual General Meeting and Elections scheduled for Thursday, May 26, 2011 from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn, 591 Wellington Road South, London, Ontario.  Dinner Buffet at 5:00 p.m. R.S.V.P required for meal to  All who attend will receive a copy of the ETFO Occasional Teacher Collective Agreement and a chance to win one of our many door prizes.   

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


As a fully qualified teacher and member of the ETFO Thames Valley OT Local, it is my right as:

A Professional:
  • to have my professional judgement respected,
  • to have the authority of teachers respected, 
  • to determine my own professional development needs,
  • to freely determine how, when and under what conditions I volunteer my time,
  • to expect to be consulted and have my opinion given full consideration;
A Union Member:
  • to have my Collective Agreement respected and followed,
  • to be provided with due process and have the right to union representation,
  • to participate in my Federation without fear of reprisal;
An Employee:
  • to work in an inclusive environment that is a respectful workplace free from any form of discrimination or harassment,
  • to work in a healthy and safe workplace that promotes my professional and personal well being,
  • to be supervised in a fair and consistent manner that respects me as a professional and a person.
On another note:

To remain an elementary Occasional Teacher with TVDSB you must annually:
  • Work at least five full days per school year as a TVDSB elementary Occasional Teacher
  • Pay your Ontario College of Teachers' fees by April 15th (fee deducted for those in LTO on January first)
  • Complete your Offence Declaration online
  • Complete all online training modules and WHMIS review
  • Submit your online Statement of Internet to Remain on the List by April 30
  • Inform the Board of any changes of name, address, and/or telephone number
Look for your May 2011 copy of The Supply Line for important information and news.  Available either online at or coming soon by post.

Annual General Meeting and Elections:
     when:   Thursday, May 26, 2011 from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m.
     where:  Best Western Lamplighter Inn 
591 Wellington Road South, London, Ontario
                 Dinner Buffet at 5:00 p.m.
                 R.S.V.P. required for meal

  All who attend will receive a copy of the ETFO Occasional Teacher Collective Agreement and a chance to win one of our many door prizes.              

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Professional Development Planning for Spring and Summer 2011

We all know that professional development is key to our career advancement as well as personally empowering in any profession and as teachers, are so fortunate to have a plethora of professional development courses to choose from. 

To move across the grid:
  • ETFO AQ/PQP Calendar 2011 - 2012 - It has been less than a year since ETFO launched ETFO-AQ with its mission to deliver top quality teacher professional learning at the reasonable price of $650 per course.  Over the past year, 4000 teachers signed up to take an AQ or PQP course through ETFO.  The feedback from our candidates  has been phenomenal.  Candidates praise the ETFO-AQ instructors for their skill at creating learning environments that are supportive, informative and innovative.  They like that the course material is practical, current and relevant.  The most significant factor in candidates deciding to take a course from ETFO is the praise they have heard from other teachers; this word of mouth has been critical to our success.  ETFO is currently developing many new AQs which will be offered next year, including:  Kindergarten - Part 2 & Specialist; Adapting Curriculum for Second-Language Learners; Inclusive Classroom - Specialist; Junior Education - Specialist; Language Arts, Grade 7 and 8; Science and Technology - Part 2 & Specialist; Social Studies - Primary and Junior - Part 2 & Specialist; and Use and knowledge of Assistive Technology.  
For your own Professional Development:
  • Summer Academy 2011 Advance Notice - These dynamic three-day professional learning courses will be provided in a partnership between locals and the provincial office throughout July and August.  The Summer Academy 2011 course catalogue will be available on the ETFO website mid-May.  A detailed Summer Academy 2011 flyer will be sent out in the May Stewards' mailing.  For more information, please contact Ruth Dawson, extension 2278,, or Joanne Myers, extension 2279,, or Jane Bennett, extension 2277, at the provincial office.
Remember: AQs get you the Interview - PD gets you the Job!

An as an F.Y.I:
  • Call for Workshop Presenters - Presenters on the Road offers quality workshops in partnerships with ETFO locals across the province.  All workshops are developed by members for members.  This program includes a variety of workshops to address subject areas, issues critical to teachers and their work, both as classroom teachers and other specific assignments such as special education, teacher librarians, and occasional teachers. ETFO members are encouraged to submit workshops that they have presented for consideration.  Workshops may be suitable for teachers in one division such as kindergarten, primary, junior, or intermediate, or for a cross-divisional audience.  Application deadline is May 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm.  For more information, please contact Jason Johnston, extension 2246,, at the provincial office.

Our next exciting event will be our Spring General Meeting and Banquet which will be held at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn on May 26, 2011 from 4:30 - 7:30 pm.  Please register at by noon, May 19, 2011.  Dinner will be provided at no charge to members.  Please remember to contact our office should you have to cancel your spot so that another member can take your place and you will not be charged for the meal.  These General Meetings are of great importance to you as a member as we are nominating and electing members for next year's Executive and it gives you the opportunity to become more involved and learn what we are here for.

Look out for our next edition of The Supply Line going out to you within the next few days.

Don't forget to complete the Mandatory on-line training modules which are all set-up and available via the Employee Portal. There are over 20 modules to complete in total. The amount of time required for the modules will be less than a day's time,  but you will get paid for a full day!  Payment for this PD will be on June 30th, the 1 day you must reserve if you are a retired teacher. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media

Maintaining professional boundaries in all forms of communication, technology-related or not, is vital to maintaining the public trust and appropriate professional relationships with students. 

The following is an excerpt taken from the Ontario College of Teachers Professional Advisory dated April, 2011 which sets out the standards for members when using electronic communications and social media.

"Electronic communication and social media create new options for extending and enhancing education.  However, as the number of channels of communication in society increases rapidly, so does the rate of misuse.  Professional boundaries can blur.  Even the most experienced members may be susceptible to unintentional mistakes."

Members must be aware of the numerous challenges and the ramifications associated with the use of electronic communication and social media.

Electronic communication and social media can be effective when used cautiously and professionally.  They serve a range of purposes, from helping students and parents/guardians access assignments and resources related to classroom studies to connecting with classrooms in other communities and countries.
Members also use the Internet and social networking sites as instructional tools and for professional development, seeking information on lesson plans, new developments and methodologies.

However, the most popular social media applications were not created specifically for educational purposes and their use can expose members to risk when it comes to maintaining professionalism.  It is up to members to know and respect proper professional boundaries with students, even when students initiate electronic interaction.
Electronic messages are not anonymous.  They can be tracked, misdirected, manipulated and live forever on the Internet.  Social media sites create and archive copies of every piece of content posted, even when deleted from online profiles.  Once information is digitized, the author relinquishes all control. 
The use of the Internet and social media, despite best intentions, may cause members to forget their professional responsibilities and the unique position of trust and authority given to them by society.  The dynamic between a member and a student is forever changed when the two become "friends" in an online environment.
Members should never share information with students in any environment that they would not willingly and appropriately share in a school or school-related setting or in the community.

The College's disciplinary process is based on the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair hearing.  However, intentional or inadvertent misuse of social media and electronic communication could have serious disciplinary consequences professionally.
Inappropriate on-line, e-mail and telephone conversations between members and others, including students, colleagues, parents/guardians, employers, family and friends, expose members to the possibility of disciplinary action.

Generally ETFO supports the College's efforts to send the message to teachers that they must be careful about their use of electronic media, even during off duty conduct  if it impacts on the school community, since this can also attract College intervention.

Members should always remember that electronic media is a two way street: yes, it is a powerful tool for educational purposes but it is also subject to abuse.  We have seen an increased prevalence of cyberbullying by electronic media in the education community.  This bullying can be student to student, parents to teachers, student to teacher, colleague to colleague.  The law now recognizes that students can be disciplined for this even if it occurs off school grounds (Education Act amendments).   With new amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the law also recognizes that teachers have greater rights to safety at work from harassment.

Members should be able to answer this:  How does my online presence - that which I control and that which is posted by others - reflect my professionalism, and how does it reflect on the teaching profession?  It is up to members to know and respect proper professional boundaries with students, even when students initiate electronic interaction.  Teachers should check to make sure that they are utilizing the highest privacy settings for content and photos.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Countdown is On!

As Spring rolls around there are many requirements that need to be completed before the end of the school year.  The following is important information for you to remain on the list:
  • Pay your College of Teachers' fee by April 15th.  If you were in an LTO assignment on January first check on the Employee Portal that your fees were deducted by payroll. If you missed the deadline and wish to teach this year,  you will have to complete the OCT Membership Reinstatement form and pay a $130 reinstatement fee, in addition to the annual fee of $120.
  • Complete online Statement of Intent to Remain on the List by April 30th on the TVDSB Employee Portal. This begins a three step process in HRS Applications which also leads to your WHMIS review and Annual Offence Declaration.
  • Teach at least five (5) days (in total) in an elementary site
  • Complete the  22 mandatory online training modules by June 30th
  • Notify TVDSB of any changes to name, address and telephone number
With regards to the Mandatory On-Line training modules completed via the Employee Portal under Mandatory Training,  you have until June 30th to complete them.  June 30th is the day in which you will be paid.  A reminder to all RETIRED TEACHERS, you will have to reserve at least one day in June to meet restrictions set by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

On another note, we are receiving wonderful feedback from presenters and attendees regarding our April 8th, PD event at Althouse College.  The presenters enjoyed meeting and presenting to our members.  They appreciated your eagerness and willingness to participate in tasks and discussions. 

Best wishes to all for a wonderful Easter break!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

After the Designated Professional Development at Althouse College

In hectic preparation for the above-referenced Professional Development Event, last weeks' blog never made it to "post" so in a nutshell, here is what took place:

Almost 700 members participated in a full-day PD on April 8th.  Throughout the day, registrants found their way to participate in over 25 sessions.  The day started at 9:00am with greetings from the Board and a brief Q & A session.  Our keynote speaker was Rob Nickel, a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer who spent over half of his career working undercover online in the Child Pornography section of the OPP.  He is a world respected expert in his field and speaks internationally to audiences about keeping kids safe on the Internet.  Full- day sessions included Ultimate Strategies for the New Teacher with Wendy Hawcutt,  Arts in an Integrated Curriculum with Polly Stringle, and Power to Change with Mohini Athia and Charline Rowan.  After the morning break, the second half of the day offered over 22 other sessions.  We're still siphoning through the evaluation forms but for the most part, our members felt this was a very beneficial event and those who participated were most appreciative for the opportunity.

As a side note, we are the only local in the province to offer paid PD on this scale to our members- thanks to the vision and efficiency of our Executive!

On a similar note of professional advancement and improvement, we are constantly looking to improve and add to our resumes with various professional development.  Here are a couple of websites available to you to visit that offer free courses for you to take in the privacy of your own home, or on your time-schedule, 24 hours a day.
They are: 
  1. - which focuses on PD for grades kindergarten to Grade 12, including subjects such as the arts, foreign languages, history, literature, math and science to name a few.
  2. - which offers various basic computer courses, such as Microsoft office and facebook guidance.
As previously mentioned, this is your career.  With today's employment numbers for our profession, there are many teachers and few positions- you have to make the effort to be selected for the interview for that job!
A.Q.s will get you the interview -
P.D. will get you the job!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maintaining Professional Relationships Among All Educators

ETFO Provincial reminds us that increasingly, the task of educating children is being carried out by teams of education practitioners.  In addition to teachers, many schools employ EAs, ECEs and a number of other professionals including health professionals, community workers and social workers, each of whom play a vital role in the development and education of students.
Professional and respectful relationships among educators and other professionals is not only a necessary ingredient for effective learning, it is also mandated by governmental, regulatory and organizational policy.
For teachers and early childhood educators, both the Ontario College of Teachers Act and the Early Childhood Educators Act  prohibit conduct that is unbecoming a member.  Violation may result in a finding of professional misconduct and could affect the ability of a teacher or early childhood educator to practice in Ontario.
We encourage all educators to treat one another with mutual trust and respect, acknowledging that each has a unique and important role to play in student learning and development.
ETFO members are encouraged to discuss, in a respectful manner, any professional relationship issues that arise between them.  If issues can't be resolved, contact us for assistance.
Mediation is also available through ETFO provincial office to help resolve colleague-to-colleague disputes.  ETFO's Professional Relations staff possess relevant expertise in this area and can assist in working out a reasonable and respectful working relationship.
These solutions should be sought early in order to avoid harassment complaints, human rights complaints, grievances and deteriorating working environments.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mandatory Training Modules are up and running!

Many members have enquired as to when the Board's Mandatory On-Line Training Modules will be available- they are now AVAILABLE!  Access is via the Employee Portal under the Staff Development and Training header.  Click on Mandatory Training and you will find 12 modules plus "Children's Aid Services Reporting" and "Sabrina's Law".  Please note that no new modules will be added after April 30th. So, if you have taken the initiative to complete these 14 modules before the end of April, go back to verify that no new modules have been added in the interim.  Remember you have until June 30th to complete these modules and that is the day you will be paid for doing so.  Retirees must reserve a teaching day in June since this Teachers' Pension will consider the mandatory training as a day of work in June.
Members have the month of April to submit the annual on-line Statement of Intent to Remain on the List. This must be submitted by April 30th.
On another note, there are now two and a half weeks to go before our April 8th Designated Paid Professional Development Event at Althouse College.  Almost 700 members have registered for this exciting PD.  Registration for select sessions remains open until March 30.  Come out and meet fellow members and participate in relevant sessions lead by well-respected experts- you'll be glad you did!

Other upcoming events:
The Spring General Membership Meeting is May 26, 2011 at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn.  There is no charge to members.  Please register on-line to


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Underemployment and Unemployment of Newly Certified Teachers

Since 2001 the Ministry of Education has contracted with the Ontario College of Teachers to undertake a comprehensive study that looks at newly certified Ontario teachers.  The OCT contacts a sample of teachers who had been newly certified in previous years to ask them about their current employment status, the challenges they have faced as beginning teachers in Ontario, and about the efficacy of the various supports that are in place for beginning Ontario teachers.
For the past few years the study has revealed a growing 'glut' of teachers in Ontario with far more teachers being certified than there are jobs.  As a result, a growing number of respondents indicated that they had resorted to taking a job outside of Ontario as there was nothing available for them in their area of choice.
Likewise, with more recent graduates each year unable to find teaching jobs or finding only very limited supply teaching employment, increasing numbers of them have returned to former occupations or have taken non-teaching jobs each year to survive financially. 
In 2009 the unemployment/underemployment situation impacted upon French-language teachers for the first-time.  Although experiencing more positive outcomes than English-language teachers (21% of whom had found regular jobs), new French-language teachers in Ontario no longer enjoy the consistently bright job prospects of earlier years.
Since 2006 there have been an increasing number of newly certified teachers who have indicated that they are unemployed.  The involuntary unemployment rate for first-year teachers has increased every year for the past five years.  What was a 3% unemployment rate in 2006 is now 24%.
Although the number of applications has dropped over the past three years, there are still far more applicants than there are potential jobs.
So what is one expected to do?  Looking for any job these days is difficult enough but getting perspective on the whole picture is imperative!  Competition is fierce and prospective employers - namely the Principal sitting across the desk from you during the interview asking all the questions, typically has his/her choice of applicants and will select the "creme de la creme".
You have to do the extra bit to stand out.  Do your homework.  Get to know whatever you can about the school, be as prepared for the interview as you can be.  In other words, rehearse the standard interview questions in your mind.  Show interest in the position by having some well thought out questions prepared to ask when it's your turn.  Be a 'team-player' and think of why you chose this profession in the first place.
Within a couple of days, follow-up with a written 'thank you' note to the interviewer.  If you did not get the job, there is nothing wrong with asking how you could have presented yourself differently so that you could have a better chance the next time around.  Think of it as a learning experience.  We continue to improve, just listen and make the effort.  Attending professional development events, becoming involved in associated organizations such as your union will provide you with a wealth of knowledge to help you view the 'bigger picture'.
Make that effort- it will be worth it!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teacher Special Education Gateway Website

In the Fall of 2009, the Ontario Teachers' Federation embarked on the development of a web-based resource for teachers on special education with funding from the Ministry of Education.
After extensive time and research, OTF was able to create this amazing repository of All things Special Education Related.  This free and easy-to-use resource is especially helpful for non-specialist teachers, as well as support staff and parents.
We encouraged you to bookmark this website as one of your favourites because once you visit, you will be coming back often.

Registration for the April 8th, Designated, Paid, Full-Day Professional Development Event at Althouse College sponsored by our Board and ETFO TVOT Local is on-going!  To date, over 600 members have registered.  Many of the workshops are offering free resources to participants. Remember to register for 1 full-day session or 2 half-day sessions in order to meet Board requirements for a full-day's pay!