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!