“A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart” Unknown Author
We all had a favourite teacher in school, right? You know, a teacher that stood out from the rest? A teacher that captured our attention, made us think, made us laugh, ignited our imagination and made us interested in the most boring of subjects, helping us to learn things we were sure we didn’t want to learn.
For me, that teacher was my grade 6 teacher, Mrs. Franken.
I was eleven when my father was transferred with his job to Toronto. This was a terrifying time for me. I was moving from a small town to the big city, far away from all the friends I had ever known. Entering a new school, in sixth grade, with a whole new group of kids who had all grown up together, was nothing short of a nightmare for a shy kid like me! Sure, I made some friends but I remember spending my entire year feeling like “the outsider”.
I’m certain Mrs. Franken could sense how scared and alone I felt in those first few months in my new grade 6 class. She went out of her way to talk with me, to include me in discussions and activities, and to try to help make me feel “part of the group”. Mrs. Franken was my “safety net” when things felt too scary for me. With her beautiful strawberry blond hair, her friendly smile, and her engaging laugh, she lit up the classroom for me.
“A favourite teacher becomes a permanent inspiration and admiration in a student’s heart for a lifetime.” Unknown Author
Mrs. Franken encouraged me to start writing poetry. Perhaps she thought it would be good for me to get my thoughts and feelings down on paper. Imagine my surprise when, during the summer following grade 6, I received an envelope in the mail…from Mrs. Franken! Inside the envelope was a letter and a clipping from the Toronto Star. Mrs. Franken had submitted one of my poems to the newspaper and they had published it. Mrs. Franken’s note told me how much she enjoyed this poem, and how proud she was of me.
Such a small gesture…but one that will stick with me for the rest of my life!
Mrs. Franken likely never knew the positive impact she had on me in grade 6. She made school bearable for me, at an unbearable time in my life. I wish I could thank her for that. I guess with this story, in a way, I am.
“Good Teachers Teach, Great Teachers Inspire.” Unknown Author
I had other amazing teachers along my educational path: Mr. Butters and Mr. Stewart made history FUN with their stories and fantastic sense of humour. They both had the incredible ability to take a dull and boring subject and present it in a way that made you want to learn it. It was in Mr. Speers’ geography class that he, and his great enthusiasm for everything geography related, taught me to love my planet and the world around me.
I am but one student that has emerged from the giant Ontario educational system in the last 50 years, and I know I am not the only one who has stories of inspirational teachers who have made a difference in our lives.
Everybody has a story.
Unfortunately, not all teacher stories are happy ones. Even I had my share of teachers who left me feeling completely lost, inadequate, and like I didn’t belong in their classrooms.
This is why an organization like the Ontario College of Teachers is so important to our educational system here in Ontario. “The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs, and regulates the Ontario teaching profession in the public interest.” They help equip our teachers to excel so that they can be the best teachers possible for our kids.
The Ontario College of Teachers sets the Professional Standards that our Ontario teachers must follow. This framework of principles sets the standards that guide these daily practices of Ontario teachers:
Commitment to Students and Student Learning
Leadership in Learning Communities
Ongoing Professional Learning
Professional Standards also cover the ethical standards of Ontario’s teaching professionals, as well as a professional learning framework for teachers themselves. As they say, learning is a lifelong process!
Let’s face it; being a teacher is a tough job. While there are many rewards that come with being a teacher, there are some pretty immense challenges as well. In my opinion, today’s kids are a lot different from kids of 50 years ago. Born into the “digital age” kids are more technically savvy and street-wise than ever before. Pair that with new age “helicopter parents”, and you get a huge increase in severe and life-threatening childhood allergies, and the inability to discipline children for fear of a backlash from parents. Teachers can find themselves in some pretty stressful and demanding situations. Luckily the Ontario College of Teachers is there to provide them with the skills, training, resources and support necessary to help them be the best teacher they can be.
The Ontario College of Teachers is not just a place for teachers to turn to for support, Ontario parents can rely on the Ontario College of Teachers for guidance, support and information as well. When it comes to their children’s teachers and education, parents can find many great free resources on the Ontario College of Teachers website.
Something that I wish was available back in the 80’s when I was in school is the Ontario College of Teachers’ “Find A Teacher” search. Of course, we didn’t have the internet back then anyway, but what a terrific resource this is for parents wanting to find out a little bit more about their children’s teacher! This online tool can help you to discover further information about your child’s teacher, such as their qualifications, and any disciplinary history that might be there.
Complaints against teachers are rare, but when they do happen, the Ontario College of Teachers has specific guidelines to deal with complaints and disciplinary actions. If you have a complaint about a specific teacher, there are steps you can take to file a complaint and have your voice heard. You can learn about the Ontario College of Teachers Complaint process and Disciplinary decisions here.
Be sure to sign up for The Standard, the Ontario College of Teachers newsletter to find out about any changes in education legislation, how the college works to ensure high standards in education, and so much more.
Follow the Ontario College of Teachers on Twitter and like them on Facebook to keep up with the latest Ontario educational news.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
Tell me about YOUR favourite teacher and why they were such an inspiration to YOU!